independent

Sunday 31 August 2014

Devoted mum Jo was pillar of community

Published 19/02/2014 | 05:22

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The late Josephine 'Jo' O'Connor, née Donnelly, passed away recently to the great sadness of her family and friends.

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Jo died surrounded by her family at St. Vincent's Hospital after a long illness, bravely borne.

She is survived by her loving husband Rory, sons David and Paul, sisters Anne, Una and Fiona, brother Paul, grandchildren Róisín and Nola, the children's partners, and all relatives and friends.

Her funeral Mass took place last Thursday at The Holy Rosary in Greystones before cremation at Mount Jerome Crematorium.

'It is true that we all hoped that Mum could have lived longer; but it is also true that, through strength of will, and sheer stubborn determination, she had a sufficient length of life,' said her son David.

When her illness entered a more serious stage over two years ago, Jo said that she was content with the way she had lived.

She had done many of the things she'd wanted to do and was not resentful or self-pitying.

She and Rory raised their sons and saw them happy and settled and in her final years packed even more life in to the time she had left.

Only a few months ago she was in the Aviva at a Leinster match. Just after Christmas she travelled to Poland to hold her second grandchild Nola.

Jo cherished and respected above all else a sense of community and a sense of duty. She loved people, and gave everything she had.

She did her best for her brother and sisters, extended family and immediate family, and was on countless committees, organisations and clubs over the decades. She was determined to fulfil every duty and meet every responsibility and to do so to the highest possible standard.

She was involved with the tennis club, the National Parents Council and the rugby club.

At GRFC she carried out years of dedicated work for the youth section. She spent days and nights and sometimes almost whole weekends in Dr. Hickey Park watching matches, and voicing opinions.

It was there that she found and lived among the community she needed, and the community she loved, a community of people who clearly loved her too.

The strength she got from her friends in the club – players and supporters alike – helped her through every difficult moment.

The past presidents' guard of honour at Jo's removal showed the esteem in which she was held at the club.

She was senior Vice President and was to become the club's first female president in May. She received a wonderful card from one of the former presidents which read 'Hillary Clinton, eat your heart out.'

'She would have done a great job,' said David. 'Life threw her an awful dodgy pass, but nothing or no one could stop her from getting over the gain line.'

'She had a huge part in the enjoyment we see week in week out in the club,' said a spokesman for GRFC.

'Despite her prolonged illness, Jo was an avid supporter of all things GRFC and attended games up to a few weeks ago.

'She will be sadly missed by everyone in Greystones RFC and the wider Greystones community.'

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