Margaret Casey, Mounthamilton, Carrick Road, Dundalk who died peacefully in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda on November 10th was an extraordinary person who overcame the enormous physical challenges in her life to make an invaluable contribution to the lives of many who attended her speech and drama classes.
She also exhibited a zest for life that defied her handicap to actively participate in foreign travel, and in the musical and cultural life of Dundalk, enthusiastically supporting her late mother, Kitty who was doyen of the amateur dramatic and musical life of the town.
Margaret was the eldest daughter of Joe Casey and Kitty McDermott, was predeceased by her older brother, Joseph and is survived by her two younger sisters, Annette and Ursula who both reside in England.
As a young girl Margaret participated in a wide variety of sports in the open spaces round her family home on the Carrick Road, and rounders, basketball and cricket were some of the sports that she enjoyed.
Living within the shadow of Oriel Park and with her family's interest in the club, Margaret attended games with her father, Joe and retained that interest in soccer and indeed all sports throughout her life.
Sadly her active participation in sport ended when she contracted Rheumatoid Arthritis as a teenager.
Initially Margaret battled bravely against the debilitating illness to complete her education at Dun Lughaidh School, and when the need arose to chose a career she was encouraged by her mother to qualify as a speech and drama teacher.
From the modest beginnings with neighbours' children around her mother's kitchen table, Margaret built a school of speech and drama of remarkable scale and quality.
Generations of pupils were drilled in voice projection, liberated through creative drama and taught to know and love poetry.
Beyond her craft of shaping voices and enabling her pupils to express themselves, Margaret listened to the young voices in her classes and heard what they said.
Her legacy endures through the many who have progressed to radio and TV, stage and indeed those for whom public speaking is an essential.
This was especially evident
the numbers who attended Margaret's funeral to express their gratitude to her family. The restrictions of Margaret's physical existence expanded the life of her mind and gave her exceptional insight and empathy.
Coupled with these attributes was a most marvellous sense of fun, underpinned by the essential element of Margaret's character, her fortitude. Her strength of mind, resolute endurance, courage and bravery carried her to places and events that others burdened by her handicap would never attempt and this was an inspiration not just to her family, but to her compassionate carers and loyal friends.
No doubt she inherited her strength of character, her sense of fun and her love of music, drama and poetry from her mother, Kitty who was a loving and caring presence in her life until her death in 2007.
In her determination to live a full life, Margaret bullied and cajoled others round her, and in the process greatly enriched the lives of many people and made a significant contribution to improving the quality of life for others in her native town.
Margaret is survived by her sisters, Annette and Ursula, nephews, Daniel, Brendan, nieces, Stephanie, Erika, Jessica and Anna, grandnephews, brothers-relatives, friends and carers.
She was predeceased by her parents, Joe in 1969, mother, Kitty (neé McDermott) in 2007 and brother, Joseph in 1997.
Having reposed at her residence, Margaret's remains were taken to Church of the Holy Redeemer where Requiem Mass was celebrated by Very Rev. Paul Montague, Adm., who gave the eulogy.
The Readings were given by nieces, Jessica and Anna Habermann while the Prayers of Intercession were led by Olive Morton, Mairead Martin, Geraldine Campbell, Brendan Allen and Stephanie Casey.
The Offertory Gifts were presented by sister, Ursula and brother-in-law, Paul Habermann while a Communion Reflection was composed by Christine Casey and delivered by brother-in-law, Richard Synge.
After Mass burial took place in St. Patrick's cemetery and the attendance at both the Mass and interment was testament to the deep regard by which the family are held and in admiration for the manner that Margaret lived her life.
Month's Mind Mass will be held on January 13th in Church of the Holy Redeemer at 11.30 a.m.