Margaret J. Dwinell, social worker, resident of South Boston, at age 94

March 30, 2017 GMT

Margaret J. Dwinell, the daughter of the late Theresa and Rolland D. Dwinell, passed away Tuesday at Harborlights Nursing and Rehabilitation in South Boston. She was 94.

She spent most of her life pursuing a career in psychiatric social work in Dorchester and South Boston.

Ms. Dwinell is best known for her management of The Center House, a 21-bed nonprofit residence in South Boston’s Andrew Square that opened in 1970 to help the mentally ill assimilate into society.

She was named Massachusetts Social Worker of the Year in 1987 for her work as the live-in director of that innovative home that helped tenants move out of institutions for the mentally ill. She previously worked at the former Boston State Hospital as a psychiatric social worker.

Ms. Dwinell was born in Lowell, graduating ninth in her class at Lowell High School in 1940. She then worked in Washington, D.C., during World War II for the Bureau of Naval Personnel.

After the war, she returned home and enrolled in the Boston College in-town program where she earned a bachelor’s degree from BC and soon after a master’s degree in social work from Boston University.

During her years at The Center House, her Saturday night potluck dinners drew people from all walks of life and her apartment was the place to watch the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. She was also a tour guide for the Castle Island Association and her knowledge of Southie ran deep. She also enjoyed the Red Sox and the Boston Symphony Orchestra equally.

She never forgot her early days growing up in Depression-era Lowell where she was always the unflappable big sister — a trait she carried with her all her days.

Loving sister to the late Clara M. (Dwinell) Lodi, Ms. Dwinell is survived by a brother, Roland A. Dwinell of Medford and his wife Ann. She is also survived by several nieces and nephews, including Theresa L. Dwinell, Joseph N. Dwinell, Richard D. Dwinell and John F. Dwinell; Ruston F. Lodi Jr., Andrea Pia Silbert, Carlo Lodi, Gen. Maria Barrett and Col. Paula Lodi.

Visiting hours at The O’Brien Funeral Home, 146 Dorchester St., South Boston, tomorrow from 4-8 p.m. Funeral Mass in Saint Teresa of Calcutta Church, 800 Columbia Road, Dorchester will take place on Saturday at 10 a.m.

Interment in Cedar Grove Cemetery, Dorchester.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend all services.