The Wahlberg name may instantly bring Hollywood star Mark or musician and actor Donnie to your mind, but behind these two names was a woman: Alma Elaine Wahlberg. Let’s delve into her life story, tracing her journey from Dorchester to her influential role within the Wahlberg family.
Her Early Life and Family
Born Alma Elaine Donnelly on May 6th, 1942, in Boston, Massachusetts, Alma had a challenging early life. Growing up in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, Alma had to navigate her childhood with alcoholic parents.
In 1965, Alma married Donald Wahlberg, a delivery driver and army veteran who had served during the Korean War. Donald and Alma had nine children – Arthur, Paul, Jim, Robert, Donnie, Mark, Michelle, Debbie, and Tracey. Their daughter Debbie passed away in 2003.
After Alma and Donald’s divorce in 1982, she remarried Mark Conroy in 1984.
In an interview with Anderson Cooper in 2011, she reflected on the challenges of raising such a large family, stating:
“Listen, I didn’t know what I was doing. I really don’t think I knew what I was doing. I was just trying to keep up with them. I love my kids. I love my kids.”
During the same interview, she revealed that her message to her own children was ‘to be involved in everything they do.’
Alma’s Professional Journey
Before finding fame on the screen, she was a bank clerk and later a nurse’s aide. Her on-screen journey began in 2011 on Anderson Live. Her appearances on the family reality show ‘Wahlburgers’ helped her gain wider recognition.
This A&E reality show chronicled the rise of the family-run restaurant chain, mainly operated by her son Paul. Alma was not just a mere spectator in the family’s business endeavors. She co-owned two restaurants, Alma Nove and Wahlburgers, with her sons.
Her Passing, Legacy, and Net Worth
On April 18th, 2021, Alma passed away at 78 from complications related to dementia. The news was shared by her sons, Mark and Donnie, on their respective social media platforms, each expressing their gratitude for their mother. Donnie’s wife, Jenny McCarthy, remembered Alma as ‘the world’s greatest mother-in-law.’
In an interview last year, Mark Wahlberg lovingly recalled his mother’s lessons, stating that:
“She was an amazing person. She taught us all through all the difficulties that we had and faced… She was very proud that we turned our lives around.”
At the time of her passing, Alma’s net worth stood at $1 million.