Ellen Devine McKenney Fahey

Born: Fri., Jun. 26, 1925
Died: Tue., Nov. 25, 2014


4:00 PM to 8:00 PM, Thu., Dec. 04, 2014
Location: Short, Williamson & Diamond

Funeral Mass

10:30 AM Fri., Dec. 05, 2014
Location: St. Joseph's Church

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Ellen Devine McKenney Fahey

The first woman elected to the Executive Club of the Boston Chamber of Commerce in 1967, Ellen McKenney Fahey, was passionate about Boston’s history and spent decades sharing her passion with visitors, convention groups and families relocating to the area.  In 1967 she founded ExecuTours of Boston, the city’s first destination management company.  A young widow, using talents developed as a volunteer and mother of four, Ellen Fahey built a million-dollar company that forever changed the way that visitors see Boston.  

On the occasion of Ellen McKenney-Fahey Appreciation Day in 1996, Mayor Thomas Menino proclaimed:

Ellen McKenney Fahey dedicated three decades to the development of Boston’s travel and tourism industry through her role as founder and President of ExecuTours, Boston’s first destination management company. As Mayor and on behalf of the people of Boston, we are pleased to celebrate her remarkable contributions and service to her community and profession.

Ellen McKenney Fahey, a resident of Belmont for over 50 years, died, surrounded by her children, on November 25, 2014 at the Allerton House in Hingham. She was 89 years old.

Daughter of a Boston Police Sergeant, Ellen graduated from Boston State Teachers’ College and married Boston Post sportswriter Joe McKenney in 1948. Suddenly widowed in 1970, with four children, she extended her personal love of Boston and its history into her successful business. Joseph McKenney, her beloved husband of 22 years, died in 1970; her second husband, Richard Fahey, Belmont passed away in 2005.

The convention and tourism business was not Ellen’s only passion. A lifetime parishioner of Our Lady of Mercy Church in Belmont, Ellen was a devoted mother and volunteer. In 1976 she was named “Massachusetts State Mother of the Year”, recognized for her many accomplishments.

After retiring from her career in the convention and tourism industry, Ellen and her husband Dick split their time between Belmont and Naples, FL. During that time she wrote her memoir, The Story of ExecuTours: 25 Years on the Freedom Trail. Her book was a labor of love and for the rest of her life, she delighted in sharing it with the world, mailing copies to anyone who expressed an interest. Thomas H. O’Connor, author of Boston Irish wrote of the book: Ellen Fahey has combined a fascinating inside account of the complex tour industry with a truly inspirational story of how a young widow survived personal tragedy to become a top business executive. A great read.

Ellen is survived by her children and their spouses: William McKenney, of Belmont, Brian McKenney and his wife Monica of Cohasset, Mari-An Fitzmaurice and her husband Jack of Hingham, Kathleen O’Brien and her husband Patrick of Melrose. She’ll be greatly missed by her grandson and 8 granddaughters, who she often reminded: “I’d love you all anyway dahlings, but it helps that you’re so beautiful.”  She also had four great-grandchildren and one surviving sibling, Mary Kennedy Peretti of Belmont.

Visiting hours: Thursday, December 4th, 4:00-8:00 PM, Short, Williamson & Diamond Funeral Home, 52 Trapelo Rd., Belmont.  Funeral  Mass: Friday, December 5th, 10:30 AM, St. Joseph’s Parish, 130 Common Street, Belmont, 02478

In lieu of flowers, contributions in Ellen’s honor may be made to The Employee Appreciation Holiday Fund,  Allerton House at Harbor Park, 15 Condito Road, Hingham, MA 02043 Attn: Marilyn Flynn.

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Condolence Booklet

Bob McQuaid
   Posted Fri November 28, 2014
To Bill Mari-an, Brian and Kate .
I am so sorry to hear of your mothers passing. She was a great lady and raised 4 wonderful kids. She was always very kind and welcoming to me, inviting me to her home and always asking about my mother. I am sure that she is enjoying her heavenly reward.
You all remain in my prayers .
Bob McQuaid

Jane Z. Murphy
   Posted Sat November 29, 2014
Please accept my condolences on your Ellen's passing. I was privileged to work for her for a number of years at ExecuTours and I thoroughly enjoyed the wonderful tone that she set for the company and all the people I worked with there.
You will all be in my thoughts and prayers.
Jane Z. Murphy

Jane Burke
   Posted Sat November 29, 2014
Celebrating 89 great years of life! She will be remembered for her love and genuiness. Truely an awesome lady!

Paulette Lomba
   Posted Sun November 30, 2014
To Mrs. Ellen Fahey's Family:

I was fortunate to have met Ellen while working at the Allerton House in Hingham and have many fond memories of her! She gave me words of encouragement as well as her insights about life.

Ellen was an inspiration to everyone she met.

Best always,


Janet O'Connor Robinson
   Posted Sun November 30, 2014
Dear Bill, Brian, Mari-An, and Kathleen,

It was an honor to know your Mother. She was an elegant and unusual person and a pioneer among women. Brian, I will always remember our visits to all of the historical places which your Mother arranged for us to visit.
My sincere sympathy,
Janet O'Connor

Elizabeth Durkin
   Posted Wed December 03, 2014
I was fortunate enough to have worked at Executours. Your Mother was a great mentor and business women. I feel blessed to have known her and try to carry her legacy of diplomacy and grace with me. Her stories were legendary yet I always admired her quiet strength. God bless you all. Elizabeth Losty Durkin

Jean Weatherbee Conley
   Posted Sun December 07, 2014
Bill, Brian, Mari An and Kate,
Please know my thoughts and prayers have been with all of you.
I admired your mother.....such a lovely, classy lady.
My sympathy on your loss,

Jim King
   Posted Fri December 26, 2014
To Ellen's family,

Sincerest condolences on the passing of your mother. She was truly a remarkable woman. My mother (Ruth King) always spoke fondly of her and so much enjoyed working with her at ExecuTours. She will be missed by one and all.

Rick walker
   Posted Sun December 28, 2014

Rick walker
   Posted Thu January 01, 2015
I never realized how accomplished mrs Mckenny was. I just knew her as a very lovely person.

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