Hon. Maureen Mulligan, Associate Justice of the Massachusetts Superior Court The Honorable Maureen Mulligan, 62, of Watertown, Massachusetts and Westminster, Vermont, died early Christmas Morning, December 25, 2023, at her home in Watertown, MA, after six months of courageously confronting pancreatic cancer. She was surrounded by love, warmth and peace.
Maureen was born in Lowell, Massachusetts on December 10, 1961 to Patrick Mulligan and Janice Wojcik, and raised in Vermont, a state she loved. She attended Westminster Center School, Bellows Falls Middle School and Concord Academy before studying and excelling at field hockey and lacrosse at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island (BA). At Brown, she majored in Women’s Studies and was a passionate advocate for equality, justice and the rule of law throughout her life and career.
After college she attended Boston College Law School (JD) and subsequently practiced law in both Boston and San Francisco. At the time of her death, she was an Associate Justice of the Massachusetts Superior Court. Prior to being appointed to the bench, Maureen was an experienced trial lawyer and an equity partner in private practice at Peabody & Arnold in Boston.
From 2019 through the summer of 2023, she served as Chair of the American Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession, and also on the Advisory Committee of the American Bar Association Diversity and Inclusion Center. She was the founding chair of the Boston Bar Association Women’s Advancement Forum and has been a career-long advocate for gender diversity and equity in the legal profession.
She also served a four year term on the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers, an exciting program which was established by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to oversee and evaluate ethical complaints against lawyers. In their press release on her court appointment, Peabody & Arnold released the following statement: “It is a well-deserved honor for Maureen who has a distinguished record as a litigator and active member of the Massachusetts legal community. Maureen brings to the bench her broad experience as a trial lawyer representing clients in complex business disputes, professional liability claims, and insurance coverage matters. Maureen has been honored with a number of awards for her leadership and excellence in the practice of law.”
Maureen met her life partner and future husband, Carlos Fernandez, through mutual friends at Brown. Together for more than 40 years, they made their home in Watertown but traveled all over the world, including many memorable summers living in Venice and frequent visits to Carlos’s family homes in Spain and Uruguay. Their international travels also took them to Japan, Argentina, Greece and Mexico, among others. In addition, they regularly visited family in Vermont, Brooklyn, California, Hawaii, Chicago and New Jersey.
Maureen and Carlos had one son, Sebastian Fernandez Mulligan, born in 1997 who currently resides in New Haven, CT. Sebastian was the light of Maureen’s life. She adored being his mother and was so proud of his kindness, intelligence, accomplishments and loving support.
Maureen is survived by her husband, Carlos Fernandez; and her parents, Patrick Mulligan and Janice Wojcik all of Watertown, MA; son, Sebastian Fernandez Mulligan of New Haven, CT; her sister, Kate Mulligan and husband, John Blossom of Kamuela, HI; her brother, Patrick Mulligan and wife, Goldie Mulligan of Burlington, VT; and nieces, Lydian Blossom of Los Angeles, CA and Kiley and Avery Mulligan. She was very close with the Fernandez side of the family, including her sister and brother-in-law, Mabel and Jose Fernandez; and her loving nieces, Leticia Fernandez Negron of Hillsborough, NJ, Lorena Fernandez of Fultan, CA and Carina Fernandez of Brooklyn, NY; and their spouses and children. Finally, Maureen was close to her many, many aunts, uncles and cousins throughout New Hampshire, Massachusetts, California, Brooklyn NY, New Jersey and California.
Those closest to Maureen knew that despite the necessity for her to wear somber-colored suits throughout her career (and later a black robe), she always preferred the color purple. No matter what the gift might be for her, if it was purple, it was a winner. She was a leader, a teacher, an outstanding cook and a sentinel to all who knew her. She will be lovingly and intensely missed.
Throughout Maureen’s illness we were grateful for the unwavering and consistent support from Maureen’s best friend, Dr. Gwen Kane-Wanger, our extended families and the Justices of the Superior Court of Suffolk and Middlesex Counties. On Maureen’s behalf, we would like to thank Dr. Jefferey Meyerhardt; and PA Michael Casey; as well as nurses, Chris and Michela from Dana Farber Cancer Institute for their excellent and professional care over the last six months. Many thanks to the doctors, nurses and nursing assistants from the Palliative Care, Floor 4A, at Brigham and Women’s Hospital for your dedication to Maureen’s comfort and spirit during her stay with you during the first three weeks of December. Finally, to the staff at Good Shepherd Community Hospice, thank you for helping us to bring Maureen home to live her final days surrounded by love, light and family.
Visiting Hours will be at DeVito Funeral Home, 761 Mount Auburn Street, WATERTOWN, MA, on Friday, December 29, 2023, from 4:00 to 8:00 pm. We welcome family, friends and colleagues to join us at a Memorial Service on Saturday, December 30, from 11:00 am to noon, at Story Chapel at Mount Auburn Cemetery. Burial at Mount Auburn Cemetery will immediately follow the service. In Maureen’s honor, we encourage all attendees to wear something purple.