Nature 18

Deanna (Dreiling) McGunigal

September 30, 1937 ~ April 30, 2020 (age 82)



Beloved Wife, Mother, Sister, Grandmother, Aunt and Friend to many, Deanna (Dreiling) McGunigal passed away peacefully on April 30, 2020. She was 82 years old.

Deanna was born on September 30, 1937 in Youngstown, OH to Dr. Otto and Margaret Dreiling. Joining older brother Otto and older sister Margie, Deanna looked up to and cherished her siblings. The siblings often put on variety shows for their parents and parents’ friends, as Deanna’s natural ability to make others laugh and smile was apparent from an early age. Her Shirley Temple curls were a favorite of her Grandfather Hewitt, whose home she lived in with her family on Park Avenue. She loved working the soda fountain at her grandfather's pharmacy, where her lifelong love of ice cream started.

During her high school years at Ursuline, while spending the summer at Lake Erie, Deanna met the love of her life — Thomas McGunigal.  Her engaging & warm personality paired with his quiet intellect and a shared love of family and strong faith were the life-long cornerstones of their respect and love for each other.  After Deanna finished nursing school at St. Elizabeth’s and Tom finished his Master’s degree in Physics at John Carroll, the two were married on June 13, 1959 in Youngstown. Soon thereafter, Thomas got an exciting job opportunity at NASA headquarters in Washington DC, so the newlyweds packed up their belongings in Deanna’s trusty VW bug — which she had paid for in cash from her savings — and made their way to the area they would call home for many decades to come. Despite the move, Deanna always maintained close ties to her family and friends in Youngstown, and the McGunigal family routinely visited Ohio and welcomed visitors from Ohio too. Nothing brought her more joy than seeing her children spending time with their Dreiling, Kester, McGunigal and Rochford cousins — a bond she shared with her own cousins growing up.

While her husband was growing his career in aerospace and attending night school at Georgetown University for his law degree, Deanna was creating a home and community in their new city. Their first three children — sons Thomas and Michael and daughter Mary Deanna — all arrived between 1960 and 1963. Over the next 16 years, three more daughters — Margaret, Elizabeth Ann, and Katherine — were born to round out the McGunigal clan. To say Deanna dedicated 60+ years of her life to her husband, 6 children and their spouses, and 12 grandkids would be an understatement.  Her husband’s, children’s and grandchildren’s successes were a source of pride, and testament to the incredible wife, mother, grandmother, and role model she was for all of them. She was truly the heart of her family.     


Even beyond her immediate family, Deanna’s ability to connect with and care for others always left a lasting impression on those who met and knew her. Her positive energy, laughter, curiosity, and humor would light up the room. She was always on hand with a camera to capture the moment for posterity, knowing that it would be appreciated later even if not immediately.  (She was right.) And her well-stocked basement was legendary, as it always seemed to contain whatever her family needed. Deanna’s deep faith, clean living, nurturing ways and strong work ethic were admirable, as was her uncanny ability to stretch a dollar.  Her perseverance and strength, even as she faced challenges at the end of her life, were truly inspiring.  She will be remembered always for the light she has brought to the lives of so many around her.


Deanna will be deeply missed by her husband Thomas E. McGunigal, siblings Otto Dreiling and Margie Rochford, children Tom (Trish) McGunigal, Michael (Donna) McGunigal, Mary Deanna (Jimmy) Briody, Peggy (Bob) States, Betty Ann (Mike) Linegang, and Kate (Lev) Pevzner. She also leaves behind grandchildren Lisa (Ted) Dorris, Mary and Jennifer McGunigal; Kevin and Sean McGunigal; Jill, Jimbo, and Michael Briody; Patrick States; and Aidan, Emily, and Ryan Linegang, sisters-in-law Joyce (Cor) Kester and Pat McGunigal, cousin Mary Lou (Frank) Beck, and many beloved nieces and nephews who will all cherish memories of her forever.

Besides her parents, she was preceded in death by brother-in-laws, John “Mac” McGunigal and Tom Rochford; and sister-in-law, JoAnn Dreiling.


The family would like to express their gratitude and thanks for the tremendous love and support from Deanna’s beloved relatives, friends of the family, and the health care staff during her final days at the rehabilitation facility and hospital.

In lieu of flowers, please send memorial donations to St Louis Parish – 12500 Clarksville Pike, Clarksville, MD 21029 in Deanna McGunigal’s name. 

Due to current restrictions, the family is having a private viewing, funeral and burial at St. Louis Parish Cemetery on May 15, 2020 and plans to have a memorial mass to celebrate Deanna’s life at the end of September in Youngstown, OH.

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