Margaret Tormey Bernier – Age 20

Margaret Tormey Bernier, age 20

Margaret Ann Tormey Bernier (1898 – 1972)

This is a photo of my grandmother, Margaret Ann Tormey Bernier.  She was born 3 August 1898 in Somerville, MA, to John Tormey (of Dublin, Ireland) and Margaret Cronin Tormey (of Glenanair, Kilmallock, Co. Limerick, Ireland).

Margaret was called “Maggie” and she was raised — along with a sister, Mary Ellen, and a brother, James Earnest — by relatives and the nuns, after her mother died (of TB) and her father was hospitalized for several years before his death.

Margaret married Napoleon Mark Bernier, literally “the boy next door.”  They dated when she was in high school, and she always said, “I was the first married and the best married.”

She also like to say that she was related to entertainer Mel Torme. She said he spelled it differently than her dad had, but she either met Mel Torme or someone close to him, and she said his actual ancestry wasn’t French but Irish. Tormey, Tormay, Tornay, Toomey, and Torme are among the many spellings (and misspellings) for the same last name.

In this photo, my grandmother was about 20 years old.  Her hair turned grey early, and was almost fully white by the time she was 25 years old.  Her nose wasn’t her “real” nose. She had a deviated septum and so she had a “nose job” early in her marriage.  My mother remembered seeing her mom with a pile of bandages on her face, after the operation.

Margaret Ann Tormey Bernier died 25 Aug 1972 of heart complications following an intestinal blockage.  She always said that the doctors told her that one side of her heart had never developed completely.  (She also had the tiniest throat I’ve ever seen.  The opening was about the size of a nickel. She had to crush pills and vitamins to swallow them.)

She’s buried with my grandfather and her brother (Jimmy), in Belmont Cemetery, Belmont, MA.

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