The MacGirr Family Story

Although Bert MacGirr and wife Dorothy always knew about McNally House, it wasn’t until Dorothy needed end of life care that the MacGirr family really understood the unique and special role the hospice plays in our community.

After spending a year and a half in and out of hospitals, and understanding that her time was near, Dorothy was adamant she did not want to die in a hospital. “Coming to McNally House was a huge relief” explains Bert. It provided a place like home where the MacGirr family could come together to support Dorothy and to say goodbye to a truly wonderful wife, mother and grandmother.

After raising their three children – Larry, Maureen and Margo – the MacGirr’s took an unconventional approach to retirement by buying the Grimsby Home Hardware, which is still known today as MacGirr Home Hardware, now under daughter Maureen’s management. Dorothy, an avid homemaker who loved music, playing the piano, knitting and gardening, felt great peace at McNally House. From the fresh flowers in every room, to the beautiful grounds and caring staff, McNally made Dorothy’s last few days incredibly peaceful and special.

The hospice, which has served over 450 residents since opening its doors in 2008, provides free of charge, 24-hour specialized palliative care to people living with terminal illness, as well as those in their life circle. McNally goes beyond just caring for the physical needs of those requiring end of life care, but attends to their emotional needs as well by providing a warm, home-like environment that enables families to continue to create cherished memories together.

All of the family, including the MacGirr’s six grandchildren, came to spend time with Dorothy at McNally House, and “every one of them could not believe how warm and inviting it was” said Bert. “You feel this tremendous aura of care here. The nurses and volunteers anticipate and attend to every need for both the patient and the family members.” This truly demonstrates the concept of a compassionate community that McNally House has embraced as its mantra – to bring community members together to support and care for those dealing with death, dying and loss.

Bert and his family lost Dorothy in July of this year. But Bert and Dorothy’s granddaughters cherish necklaces and pins featuring the McNally House hummingbird – a special way to remember a much loved grandmother and to honor a truly remarkable place that the MacGirr family won’t soon forget. Bert encourages members of the community who have not been to McNally House to learn more about it and to give Executive Director, Pamela Blackwood a call to book a tour.