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Veteran Dining Hall Worker Dies of Cancer

By Laura L. Krug, Crimson Staff Writer

Maureen T. Haley, a quiet, but popular dining hall checker who logged three decades at Currier House, died Friday morning, after a yearlong battle with cancer. She was 65.

Haley began her career at Harvard in 1965, working in dining halls that were then affiliated with Radcliffe. She switched to part-time work when her three children were born, but returned to work full-time in Currier in 1972, according to friend and fellow dining hall worker, Diane A. Freedman, who refers to Haley as the “front-of-the-house lady.”

Haley has checked IDs and greeted generations of students who came to know her as Miss Maureen, “the lady who listened.”

“She made an effort to know all the students who came into the dining hall,” said Barbara S. Graham, former co-Master of Currier House. “Without IDs she knew them all.”

One of Haley’s three sons, Stephen Haley, has worked in the dining hall alongside his mother since he was 16 years old. The younger Haley spent the last year at home with his mother.

Now in his 30s, he remembers his mother’s relationships with others and the supportive presence she was for him.

“My experience was great,” said Stephen Haley of his time working near his mother. “We were tight, we helped each other out. She looked forward to going to work, and so did I.”

Even as she neared retiring age she never liked to think of leaving work, said Freedman.

“Her family was first, but this was like an extension of her family here,” said Freedman. “She would say, ‘what am I going to do at home? This is my life here.’”

Haley has spent the last year on extended medical leave, said Patricia G. Pepper, assistant to the Currier House Masters.

The House community learned of the death from an e-mail sent Friday evening.

Dining hall staff members said they are universally saddened by the loss.

“She touched the lives of everyone here,” remembered Catherine M. Marks, who works as a server in Currier.

“She was a lovely friend,” Freedman said. “She used to joke and laugh all the time.”

A card for her family is filling with signatures, and Freedman said many students were present at Haley’s wake and funeral, which took place at Our Lady of Mercy Church, in Belmont, yesterday.

Haley is survived by three sons: Stephen, Philip and John Jr. Haley.

—Staff writer Laura L. Krug can be reached at krug@fas.harvard.edu.

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