Remembering Mrs. McNamara

Mrs. Sharon McNamara

Mrs. Sharon McNamara

Sammy Rosin, Editor-in-Chief

Whether it was with a compliment about an outfit, a question about  classes or  extracurricular activities, or just her friendly smile, Mrs. Sharon McNamara made every RHS student feel welcomed and appreciated in the library. On Friday June 10th, Mrs. McNamara, an RHS library clerk for 21 years, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. This is a loss that everyone in the RHS community will feel deeply. Many students will remember Mrs. McNamara stationed behind the front desk at the library, pink and green Lilly Pulitzer cup nearby, always ready to help with textbooks and to share a few words to make students smile. Some students will remember how she knew what textbook they were looking for without even having to ask for it or how she would ask about the stickers on their computers or the slogan on their shirt.  As rising senior Edy Mackenzie  explained, “It always seemed like she was really interested in learning more about us students.” Recent RHS graduate and Senior Class President  Justin Nourian emphasized, ”Mrs. McNamara possessed a beautiful, generous soul.” He added, “This past school year I had the opportunity to talk to her often when I visited the library and she always brightened my day with her endless warmth and kindness. She will be missed by us all.” 

 A week prior to her passing, Mrs. McNamara had just announced her plans to retire  from RTSD. Mrs. Kevgas shared, “Mrs. McNamara’s passing was a shock to all of us; a true tragedy. Last week we were able to celebrate her as a faculty and staff in honor of her retirement. Many special memories were shared that morning. It was a gift to be able to tell her how much she meant to all of us, and how much we loved her.” 

Mrs. McNamara performed countless acts of service, both large and small, to benefit the RHS community. For example, when students returned to school last year after being virtual due to COVID, Mrs. McNamara helped implement safety measures, like ensuring social distancing between students and implementing cleaning protocols that enabled students to return to one of  their  favorite places to study, browse books, and hang out. On a daily basis, Mrs. McNamara ensured that the library was a safe and friendly space that so many students appreciated. In another example, recent RHS graduate Minnie Maden, recalls, “ [Mrs. McNamara] spent a good hour trying to track down a niche book . . . I desired for a paper I was writing… It was only published once in 1986 and eventually Mrs. McNamara and Mrs. Wetzel tracked down the book in a university library in rural Pennsylvania.” Minnie described Mrs. McNamara as a “ray of sunshine in the library,” and appreciated how she would compliment her on the coordination of her outfits, ask her about her work in the archives, or try her baked goods, regardless of how good they were. 

Of course, Mrs. McNamara’s selfless acts of kindness touched both students and staff. Mrs. Kevgas commented “Mrs. McNamara always had a smile on her face, and a kind word to share. She will be sorely missed. May her memory be eternal.” Mrs. Wetzel, who spent 10 years working alongside Mrs. McNamara in the library, noted how every time a visiting author or special guest would come to the library, Mrs. McNamara would immediately make the visitor feel comfortable – naturally making easy conversation with them. Mrs. Mcnamara was not only  caring and kind to students, colleagues and  friends in RTSD, but also made a positive impact in her community. Mrs. Peg, a paraprofessional for 19 years and counting at RHS, knew Mrs. McNamara both from work and from living in the same neighborhood, where Mrs. McNamara resided with her loving husband and two daughters. Mrs. Peg, who would often go on walks with Mrs. McNamara, shared that Mrs. McNamara knew everyone in the neighborhood and that she was the president of the Merion Golf Manor Neighborhood Association. In addition to her passion for  working in the library, Mrs. McNamara was a dedicated member of her church, St. John Neuman, the Junior League, and the Radnor Educational Support Personnel Association (RESPA). She would give rides to senior citizens, and even took them to the grocery store to help them do their food shopping. When Mrs. Peg broke her ankle, Mrs. McNamara drove her to and from Radnor high school every day. 

Radnor High School was truly so lucky to have had Mrs. McNamara for 21 wonderful years. While she will no longer be present in the library, she made the library an amazing place, and students and staff will always remember her. As Stephanie Querze, RESPA President emphasized, “[Mrs. McNamara] was loved by all and lived life to the fullest. It was truly a gift to know her.”