Christina Molloy liked things done right.
Dirty dishes shouldn’t be left to molder in a sink. Windows should sparkle. She used Windex and paper towels to clean hers.
“If the windows are shining,” she’d say, “you know the rest of the house is clean.”
To get the lumps out of mashed potatoes, she knew you had to heat the milk and butter before mixing them in.
She also appreciated when people looked sharp. “Make sure you look decent,” she’d tell her kids. “You have to be neat and tidy.”
So when her health began failing and it came time for her family to start planning her funeral, she made things easier for them.
“Bagpipes,” she instructed. “And get me a good singer.”
She told them to dress her in the sparkly blue outfit she wore to her granddaughter’s wedding.
As her daughter wept at her bedside, Mrs. Molloy rallied.
“I was sobbing, saying, ‘You’re my best friend,’ ” Tina DeVitto said. “She opened her eyes and said, ‘You’re tough. You’ll be fine.”
When her kids asked if she really wanted visitors, she told them, “My door is open. Everyone can come.”
“Her spirit was the old Chris Molloy: ‘I’m going to make the best of my last week,” said her daughter. “She wanted her goodbyes.”
Mrs. Molloy, 90, died Monday at her Schiller Park home.
An Irish immigrant from the hamlet of Dalgan, near Milltown in County Galway, she was the youngest of five sisters. By 16, she’d lost her parents, Margaret and Patrick Meade.
Young Christina began working as a nanny for a physician who treated her like a daughter. So when her sister Catherine immigrated to Boston, “Dr. Finnegan said, ‘You’ll have a better life in America,’ ’’ Tina DeVitto said.
In 1950, she took the Queen Elizabeth ocean liner to join her sister in Massachusetts, where she watched two children for $25 a week in the posh community of Chestnut Hill.
At the Irish dances in Boston, she met curly-haired Danny Molloy, a plasterer and stationary engineer from the village of Malin in County Donegal. They were married in 1952 at St. Ignatius Church in Chestnut Hill.
In that postwar era, Chicago was a hive of manufacturing, factories and assembly lines. So, in 1953, “They left Boston because he heard there was more work in Chicago,” Tina DeVitto said.
The Molloys raised their family in St. Ferdinand’s parish at Belmont and Austin. Her husband worked at Chicago-Read Mental Health Center. Until their four children started arriving, she worked in a button factory.
Mrs. Molloy “was a wonderful singer,” her daughter said. “When she was going around the house, cleaning, mopping, she’d always be singing and whistling the Irish songs,” like “Far Away in Australia” and “When Irish Eyes are Smiling.” She loved listening to the voice of Irish performer Daniel O’Donnell and the radio’s Irish Hour.
She enjoyed TV shows including “Everybody Loves Raymond,” “The Bonnie Hunt Show” and “Wheel of Fortune.”
Her children said they’ll continue to enjoy sayings she was fond of, like “Your health is your wealth” and “You can fall in love with a rich one just as easy as a poor one.”
Mrs. Molloy is also survived by her sons Daniel, Jim and Sean, 11 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Her sisters Mary Hughes, Catherine Griffin, Peggy Glynn and Julia Ann Hoy died before her. Visitation is 3 to 9 p.m. Friday at Cooney Funeral Home in Park Ridge. Her funeral will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Beatrice Church in Schiller Park, with burial at Queen of Heaven Cemetery.