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Alma Wahlberg, the matriarch of the Wahlberg family and a frequent character on the reality show Wahlburgers, has died. She was 78.
Mark and Donnie Wahlberg posted the news to their Instagram pages on Sunday. “My angel. Rest in peace,” Mark wrote. Donnie wrote, “I’m so blessed to have been brought into this world by, raised by, taught by and set on my life’s path by, such an amazing woman.” He added, “My mom Alma’s joy for life, love and people — combined with a pride in her humble beginnings and refusal to forget where she came from — undoubtedly shaped me into the man that I am.” No cause of death was given.
Actor Jenny McCarthy, who is married to Donnie, called Wahlberg “the worlds [sic] greatest mother-in-law” in a Twitter post. “You are loved by so many and will be missed dearly. Love you, Alma,” she added.
After growing up in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, Wahlberg married Donald E. Wahlberg in 1965 (they later divorced; Donald died in 2008). She raised nine children in the Boston area — Mark, Donnie, Arthur, Paul, Jim, Robert, Michelle, Debbie and Tracey — and worked as a bank clerk and nurse’s aide. (Debbie died in 2003.)
In a family interview over dinner with Anderson Cooper in 2011, Wahlberg told the CNN host of raising nine children: “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.” After getting emotional, she added, “I love my kids. I love my kids.”
Between 2014-19, Wahlberg appeared on dozens of episodes of A&E’s Wahlburgers, a reality show that chronicled the rise of the family-run restaurant chain, operated mainly by Paul Wahlberg. “Wahlberg matriarch Alma, always at the ready with strong opinions, also is heavily featured and doesn’t mind fueling her children’s competition on who really is the favorite son,” a THR critic wrote in the magazine’s review of the series in 2014. In 2010, Paul opened an Italian restaurant in Hingham, Massachusetts, named Alma Nove, in a tribute to his mother.
In his post about his mom’s death on Instagram, Donnie wrote, “I’ve often said, if you like anything about me, I got it from Alma. I say that, because it’s true. She was, without a doubt, the most loving human being I’ve ever known.”
In her appearance on Cooper’s show in 2011, Wahlberg said, “My advice to my own children was … to be involved in everything they do.”
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