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Saturday 25 October 2014

A breath of fresh air who loved to chat, dance... and keep chickens in Tralee

Published 12/12/2012 | 12:20

The late Annie Flahive 1931-2012 IT IS with great sadness that the Flahive and Breen families announce the passing of Annie Flahive (nee Breen) of Muing West, Oakpark, Tralee, on Friday, November 29 in Kerry General Hospital.

Ann, better known as Annie, was born in Ballyconry, Lisselton on August 28, 1931. She was born minutes after her twin sister Peg, who pre-deceased her by almost two years.

Their mother passed away in childbirth but Annie and Peg grew up with the love of her step-mother Kathleen, whom Annie often talked of fondly. She had one brother Boba Breen (who passed away in 1998) and two step-brothers John and Mattie, and her step-sister Kattie.

She looked after the housework in the farm house while Peg, the stronger of the twins, worked on the farm. Annie was always a very conscenscious lady and was a very proud housekeeper all of her life.

She loved to socialize from her early 20s at the dances in Ballybunion to just weeks before her death in her favorite hotels, The Meadowlands, The Killarney Park and Ballygarry House Hotel.

She and her twin had many a fun evening dancing with young men and playing practical jokes on them, switching for dances when the men would not know them apart. It was on such an evening that Annie met the love of her life, Liam Flahive.

Peg had met and danced with Liam first and Peg wanted to see what Annie thought of the boy from Tralee and asked her to meet him outside the door, he was expecting Peg to join him. Annie arrived out and the rest as they say is history. They fell madly in love and soon married.

Liam had a keen interest in greyhounds and won the Irish Puppy Derby in 1962 and bought the plot in Oakpark which soon became a landmark and well loved service station and garage. They went on to have four daughters, Margaret, Mary, Anne and Caroline.

Many was the day Annie served petrol and often opened in the middle of the night to a person who was stuck for petrol. She often not only served them petrol but tea and coffee too. She loved people and chat and was very open, friendly and entertaining. She spent many a night talking and recounting stories, of the people she met who were looking for petrol or who she met socializing and became life long friends.

Annie loved to bake, sweet bread, scones, brown bread and apple tarts were her favourite to make for her family. She managed to cook, clean and bake along with working side by side with her husband in the businesses. Even though she was not a strong woman she had enormous energy and drive.

She loved fashion and was christened "beige and brown" by a shop owner in Tralee as these were her favourite colours and her wardrobe were adorned with tops and blouses in these hues.

She continued her love for animals from her days on the farm in Ballyconry to Oakpark where she always kept at least a dozen hens, ducks and turkeys as well as dogs and cats.

The cockerel could be heard as far as Forge Cross, waking the neighbors early in the morning! Many is the time the turkeys escaped into Derrylea and the neighbouring children had great fun trying to round them up and return them to Mrs Flahive.

She was always involved in the parents association in Presentation secondary school which she enjoyed very much. She was often referred to as a breath of fresh air, with her light and easy way and funny charm she brought to often quite strained meetings!

She loved to talk on the phone, often spending several hours chatting to her friends and family especially to her twin Peg and sister-in-law Ita. Liam, her husband, used to joke that she should get a job with Eircom.

She loved west Cork and family holidays were enjoyed there, and later when the girls were grown up she and Liam would head off to west Cork particularly Owenachincha which Annie loved.

Annie had an amazing zest for life and even though she was not a robust lady she overcame every illness with grace. Annie was the weaker of the twins as a child and needed regular iron injections, which at that time were very severe. When she was in her 20s she was hit by another bicycle while cycling her bicycle, her nose was broken and it would be years later, when she was married, that it was eventually fixed.

She had an amazing drive and nothing much got her down. She was diagnosed with Parkinsons disease in 1994, she suffered a liver abscess in 2001, broke her right hip in November 2006, broke the second in March 07. She received a pacemaker that same year but through it all she remained "bright and breezy" an attitude she advised her daughters to adopt. She may have lost her mobility through breaking her hips but she certainly did not loose her wit and sense of humour and kindness. She had an incredible wit and a tremendous laugh that was completely contagious. She had a way of making everyone smile, especially when she used funny terms from her youth in Ballyconry. She had a twinkle in her eye that was very mischievous.

Her beloved husband Liam passed away in November 2000, after almost 40 years of marriage. She missed him dearly and his passing was a major setback to her. The two of them were always together and enjoyed going out together up until Liam's death.

However, she remained happy and pleasant to the end and used to say she would "offer up her suffering". She always said that there was no point in worrying or complaining and that one needed to have patience and faith that things would work themselves out for the best. She had great faith in Padre Pio and Our Blessed Lady.

It is with great disbelief that Annie has passed as everyone who knew her expected her to return home again, such was her fighting spirit. She had so many serious illnesses in her life where she was given no hope of recovery but she always bounced back and amazed the medical staff. She was affectionately called "the cat with nine lives".

Everyone who met Annie fell in love with her, she had such a kind, ladylike and lovely sense of humour. She was always a peacemaker and a raised voice was never heard. She always said its nice to be nice and she certainly practiced what she preached! She was the epitome of what a lady should be. Even in the last days in the hospital she bore her illness with grace and was still commenting on fashion up to her last days.

A wonderful, caring and compassionate mother she was doting grandmother to her four grandchildren, Jack, Grace Liam and Samuel.

She loved the song "Danny Boy", which was played at her funeral mass.

The removal of Annie's remains took place from Hogans Funeral Home on Friday, November 30, to Saint John's Church, followed by Requiem Mass on Friday, December 1 and burial in new Rath Cemetery.

Annie is survived by her daughters Margaret, Mary, Ann and Caroline, her sister Kattie, and brothers John and Mattie, grandchildren, Jack, Grace, Liam and Samuel.

May she rest in peace.

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