Margaret Mary Kiely, 65, of Strafford, a lawyer who recruited for Philadelphia law firms and later represented the elderly, died at home of a heart attack on St. Patrick’s Day, Tuesday, March 17, her favorite day of the year.
Ms. Kiely was a woman of many names. She was “Marge” to her colleagues, “Margaret” or “Margaret Mary” to friends and family, and “Mugsie” to her numerous nieces and nephews.
Born in Philadelphia to Thomas J. and Margaret McCloskey Kiely, Ms. Kiely graduated from Holy Child High School in Bryn Mawr in 1972; Georgetown University in Washington in 1976, and Loyola University New Orleans College of Law in 1979.
After law school, Ms. Kiely joined the Center City law firm of Naulty, Scaricamazza & McDevitt.
In the 1980s, she founded Kiely Legal Search, a solo recruitment business, which she ran from an office in the Land Title Building at Broad and Chestnut Streets.
She forged relationships with members of the legal community who trusted her intuition and resourcefulness to identify the best candidates for their firms, her friends and family said.
“She was a huge networker; she knew so many people,” said her sister Aimee Kiely Weise.
In the mid-1990s, Ms. Kiely switched to the practice of elder law. She helped older people, especially those lacking family, with matters involving power of attorney, wills, trusts, and other issues.
“A lot of her legal advice was for free,” her sister said. “She just had a really big heart.”
Ms. Kiely was known as a loyal and generous friend, full of spirit and liveliness. A Catholic, she attended Mass daily. She was a supporter of many charitable organizations.
Throughout her life, Ms. Kiely maintained friendships with people from all walks of life, some for 50 years. She was friends with John Gillin of Berwyn for 21 years, traveling with him and attending social gatherings with his family. Initially a couple, they broke up but remained friends. When he became ill last year, she took care of him before his death.
Although she didn’t marry, Ms. Kiely saw “the romance in life,” her friends and family said in a statement: “She could make a passing moment memorable with an observation followed by her wry smile, and she had a way of saying the names of the people she loved as if she were announcing their specialness to the world.”
Ms. Kiely contributed time and money to organizations including Mothers’ Home for women and children in Darby Borough; St. Ignatius Nursing Home in Philadelphia; Holy Child School at Rosemont; and Society of the Holy Child Jesus, American Province.
Besides her sister, she is survived by sisters Kathryn McDevitt, Mary Jane Collins, and Maureen Hogan; a brother, Thomas J. III; and 15 nieces and nephews.
Because of the disruption caused by the coronavirus, a Funeral Mass and celebration of life will be held later.