Marjorie Ann Niland, 88

SOUTHPORT — Marjorie Ann Niland, age 88, of Southport, North Carolina passed away on Friday, August 20, 2021. Marjorie was born December 17, 1932 in Boston, MA.

Marjorie was number four of six siblings born to second generation Irish immigrants. Her father a Boston firefighter, and mother, a homemaker, were dedicated parents. Marjorie and her brothers and sisters enjoyed beach summers on Cape Cod and weekends spent sightseeing on the wharf of Boston Harbor. Her love for the ocean was a constant throughout her life.

At a young age, Marjorie showed a great talent for art, specifically painting. She earned a Bachelor of Arts and later, Master’s Degree from the Boston School of Fine Arts. It was during this time she met and married a talented musician and together they ventured off to the west coast to pursue their dreams, settling in southern California which was a mecca for the arts in the 1950s. During the next eight years, Marjorie became a mother to five boys. She was a wonderfully dedicated mom, and her boys became a great source of pride and love in her busy life. While raising her sons, Marjorie taught art classes at the local community college and became interested in causes near to her heart. Over the course of her life, Marjorie’s activism included women’s rights, anti-nuclear, anti-war, land conservancy, and medical marijuana advocacy. She was diagnosed with Dystonia in the early 1980’s and became a staunch supporter for Dystonia awareness, successfully lobbying the city of Los Angeles for proclamation of Dystonia Awareness Day.


Once her boys were grown, Marjorie found a new love for traveling, both in and outside of the United States. Her natural curiosity, sense of humor, varied interests, generous nature, and sharp intellect earned her many great friendships that she maintained throughout her life. She loved reading, cultural studies, and art appreciation, yet could also always find value in the simple things in life. Marjorie adored her seven grandchildren, including three girls who became the girls she never had while raising all boys. Even as she aged, children remained a source of joy and she would light up in their presence. Marjorie moved to North Carolina in 2015 to be close to her son, Claude, following several health issues. Even in declining health and away from her beloved California, Marjorie maintained her sense of humor, love of family, and ability to appreciate beauty in nature and art.

Survivors include her five sons, Michael McKernan and wife Stephanie, Claude McKernan and wife Wendy, Noel McKernan, Phil McKernan, and Joe McKernan and wife Susana; seven grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; and a brother, Paul Niland and wife Peggy.

Marjorie was preceded in death by her parents, George Niland, Sr. and Catherine Niland; two brothers, George Niland and Robert Niland; and two sisters, Joan Niland and Marie Zwart; and a grandson, Andrew McKernan.

Marjorie’s family would like to thank the wonderful care providers of Elmcroft Assisted Living for the dedication and love they have shown to our mother. They are truly our heroes.

Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.peacocknewnamwhite.com for the Niland family.

Peacock – Newnam & White Funeral and Cremation Service, Southport, North Carolina.

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