Mary Lonergan was a woman with a heart of gold whose main priority in life was her family.
Mary died tragically in a car crash last Thursday morning close to Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny as she travelled to Tramore, Co. Waterford to enjoy the day's fine weather with her only daughter Louise. The crash also claimed the life of Vanessa McGarry, wife of Kilkenny goalie, James.
Mary was married to Michael for 18 years and the couple had two children, 14 year old Michael and 12 year old Louise. Mary, nee Kinsella, was a Kilkenny woman through and through and never strayed far from her roots. Reared in St. Enda's Terrace, Paulstown, Michael and Mary lived close to her family home in Kellymount, Paulstown. Leaving school she started work in Connolly's Topline Bagenalstown where she remained for the rest of her working life. Mary (49) was a great worker and following the birth of her two children, she cut back her hours working part time so she could devote more time to her family.
Mary was well respected in Bagnealstown with many people waiting for her days on to visit the shop. She was never shy about giving advice and many people in Bagenalstown and beyond sought that advice as they choose colours for their homes.
In Connolly's she worked alongside her brother, Mick, who was manager in the store. Her sister in law Dorothy recalls how Mary joked that people often said to her that it would be great to be working with your brother and said it was but that Mick couldn't let her away with anything!
A keen sports fan, Mary was a stalwart member of the Barrow Rangers club and club members performed a guard of honour during her funeral. Both her children, Michael and Louise, are keen sports people and Mary was more often than not at the sidelines cheering on her children regardless of the weather.
She was very involved with the local community and was always a woman you could rely on. Whether it was tea and sandwiches, lifts to and from matches or supervision at matches Mary was your woman. She never needed to be asked she was just there. She did it without a grumble and without looking for praise and appreciation.
A member of the local church choir Mary was a woman of strong faith and only last October travelled to Rome with daughter Louise.
A bubbly person with a heart of gold her friends remember her as a woman that you couldn't speak highly enough of. Her sudden passing rocked the whole community and sent shockwaves through the neighbouring parish of Bagenalstown.
Mary loved children, not just her own children, but children in general. Her house was always open to Louise and Michael's friends. She also had a great rapport with the older generation and was very close to her mother, Statia.
Her sister-in-law Dorothy said Mary was a woman people loved to love. She was very generous with her time and there was no harm in her. She was always willing to help. Her death is a huge loss. Words can't describe it. She was a very family person and her children meant the world to her. Mary was never on her own, she was always accompanied by one of the children.'
Her husband, Michael, was from Cork originally and the couple had great sport during Kilkenny-Cork sporting clashes. Michael's eight sisters and his mother were delighted when Michael and Mary married and his mother often said that her only son couldn't have found a better woman if he travelled the length and breath of the country
A people person, Mary could put anyone at ease. She took things in her stride and no favour was too great for her. If she could help you, she would, it was as simple as that.
Mary had a great sense of style, a trait which she passed onto her daughter, Louise. They spent many a happy day trawling around the shops of Kilkenny and Carlow seeking out the latest fashions.
Proud of her children, Mary was cheering on Louise in a camogie match the evening before she died, telling everyone there that her son Michael was lining out for the Kilkenny Under 14 team against Laois the same evening.
Mary is survived by her husband, Michael, son Michael Junior, daughter Louise, mother, Statia, sister Caroline (Walsh), Garryduff, brothers, Thomas and Michael, Bagenalstown, Dick, Paulstown, Noel, Cloyadh and Martin Rathdrum, mother-in-law, sisters-in-law, brother-in-law, nephews, nieces, aunts, uncles, relatives and friends.
Mary's remains were removed from her residence on Saturday evening to the Church of the Assumption, Paulstown Requiem Mass took place on Sunday morning with internment afterwards in the New Cemetery, Paulstown.