The late Betty O'Sullivan
NEWS OF the recent untimely death of Betty O'Sullivan, St Joseph's Estate, Spa Road, Tralee and formerly of Strand Street, was greeted with great sadness by her family and friends.
Betty, who had packed so much into the 52 years she had on this earth, died peacefully at home, having fought a long and courageous battle with cancer for the last 11 years.
Christened Elizabeth, she was known to one and all as Betty Baldy, born on February 23, 1961. She was the youngest of nine children born to parents Daniel (Baldy) O'Sullivan and Christina (Cissie) Conway. Her family are steeped in the annals and heartland of Strand Road and it would be fair to say that Betty was a true Narie and wore the blue and white as a badge of honour.
Along with her siblings and friends she attended Balloonagh Primary School and after finishing school at a young age went out to work. Never afraid of hard work or long hours she began her working life with Quinnsworth.
Over the years she was employed in the Sunbeam Factory in Clash, The Strand Bar and Cumann Iosaef and her final place of employment was in the canteen in the Tralee Town Council Yard at the top of the Rock.
Although she was the only female working in the yard and it was situated in "enemy" territory of the Black and Amber in Rock Street, she was never happier. One can only imagine the ball hopping that went on, but Betty gave as good as she got and cherished the years she worked there. The craic was mighty, the banter was ongoing but it was the friendship of the people she worked with that made it all worthwhile.
Due to her illness Betty had been unable to work in recent months, but many of her friends and colleagues came to visit her on a regular basis. Those close friendships were maintained right up to her final days.
Betty simply loved life and believed in enjoying it in every possible way. She was well known to be the life and soul of a party occasion or family get-together and would lead the singing and dancing until the small hours. Quite recently she enjoyed a night of nostalgia, with family and friends, at the Showband Show in Ballyroe Heights.
One of her biggest nights out was a surprise party to celebrate her 50th birthday. Unknown to Betty everything had been put in place to catch her unawares with Crystal Swing setting the tempo and getting the atmosphere rocking. Betty was in shock - temporarily - but managed to savour the special moment and was delighted that so many friends had turned up on the night to celebrate with her.
Betty was raised in a caring and loving family and in a very close knit community of Strand Street. She was rarely seen without her sister Eileen by her side, they were simply inseparable. They took great pride in doing everything together and loved getting their hair done every week. Eileen was a devoted sister who had an unbreakable bond with Betty and her passing leaves a big void.
Betty was the central link for the whole family. Her house was the focal point and she liked nothing better than to see family and friends calling. If anyone had troubles, it was Betty they would turn to and she helped and supported so many over the years.
Betty was, above all else, a loving and caring mother to her two children Tina and Sharon. Working hard, she provided for their every need at Christmas and birthdays, but told them how specially proud she was of them. The birth of her two grandchildren Alex and Christian brought added joy to her life and she always made time for them, even in her darkest hours.
Betty fought a brave battle with her illness for the last 11 years. The latest reoccurrence wore heavy on her, but being a true Narie, she soldiered on despite repeated setbacks. She maintained her pride and dignity to the very end.
The large number of people who came to pay their respects at the family home, showed how she and her family were held in such high esteem. Tralee UDC work colleagues and Kerins O'Rahillys Club provided a guard of honour on the day of her funeral.
Betty was laid to rest in New Rath Cemetery, following Requiem Mass in St John's Church.
She was pre-deceased by her father and mother and brother Albert.
She is survived by her children Tina and Sharon, grandchildren Alexandra and Christian, sister Eileen, brothers Denis, Michael, Donie, Dersey, Pa and Noel, brother-in-law, sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, grandnieces, grandnieces, cousins and many friends.
Betty's favourite song was "If I Give My Heart To You" and she did give her heart to everyone. She leaves a myriad of wonderful memories of fun and laughter. There was and always will be only one Betty Baldy.
May her gentle and sweet soul rest now in peace.