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Saturday 18 November 2017

Family woman Mary Nolan was inspirational

Obituary: Mary Nolan

The late Mary Nolan
The late Mary Nolan

The death occurred recently of the gracious Mary Nolan (née O'Neill), late of Haresmead, Foulksmills.

Mary died on September 24 in the love and care of her family.

Mary was born on November 9, 1943, on a small farm in Clogher, Ballybay in County Monaghan.

She was the second of seven children born to a hard working and ambitious parents; John and Mary O'Neill. In the Ireland of the 40's & 50's eking out a living on 27 acres of the 'stoney grey soil of Monaghan', was no task for the fainthearted. Mary really enjoyed farm work and made light of the hardships involved. It was here that Mary's insatiable appetite for hard work was nurtured and duly remained with her throughout an amazingly productive life.

However, Mary's parents were truly loving and caring people and Mary often recalled her contented and carefree childhood. It was in this wee Irish home that she first imbued with the inspirational values which made her such an incredibly special woman. Her boundless love and concern for others was legendary. Mary had a light-hearted and witty personality which endeared her to everybody. Her kindly smile promptly removed all barriers and enabled Mary to make immediate connection with young and old. She loved the company of the younger generation because she had a genuine interest in how they were faring in life. No matter where one met that impressive lady she always made time for a chat. Most definitely, everyone felt the better of meeting Mary.

Having completed her education Mary secured her first job as a draper's assistant, in nearby Ballybay. Subsequently, she found similar employment in Shercock, County Cavan, some miles distant.

In the mid 60's Mary broadened her horizons by emigrating to London; where she worked as a bus conductor. Despite her rural background, Mary adjusted quickly to the hustle and bustle of city life. Little did she think at that time that buses would play such a significant role in her future. However, the hand of fate directed otherwise; for it was in London that Mary met the love of her life Stephen Nolan from Ballycullane. The rest, as they say, is history.

In July 1969 the devoted couple returned to County Monaghan to be married and shortly afterwards they purchased a home in Haresmead, in the parish of Clongeen. Over the years this branch of the Nolan clan went to make an immense contribution to every aspect of life in their adopted community.

Stevie and Mary were blessed with four cherished children, Aine, Kieran, Trish and Stephen. Being dedicated parents they gave their children every support and encouragement and prepared them to face the world with dignity and good-humour. In due course Mary and Stevie gloried in their seven grandchildren and were proactively involved in their young lives.

Mary was a true family woman and regardless of her many diverse interests the well-being of her family was paramount to her. Not forgetting her roots, Monaghan continued to figure prominently in the scheme of things. She visited 'home' regularly, with her growing children and in summertime the youngsters enjoyed idyllic holidays with their adoring grandparents.

From a business perspective it must be acknowledged that Mary truly played a vital role in the development of Stevie's thriving bus company. She became a dedicated driver and an enthusiastic all round worker. Furthermore, behind the scenes she was an inspirational and astute problem solver.

On the school runs Mary knew all her passengers by name and treated them with the utmost respect. She was responsible for 'the most precious load of all'. She, therefore, insisted that every bus in the fleet was maintained to pristine standard. It was also indisputable that Mary's motherly regard for her passengers was warmly returned by the boys and girls.

For rest and relaxation Mary was a fortunate to have an abiding interest in sport, especially Gaelic games and soccer. Later on, mainly due to the heroics of her daughter, Trish on the basketball courts, Mary became a committed follower of the sport. Young Stephen, too, became an accomplished rugby player, on the national scene and abroad, so naturally enough, Mary also cultivated a deep interest in this most robust of games. Travelling to far flung destinations with Stevie was another of Mary's pursuits. Usually in August they enjoyed memorable trips to superb destinations in France, South Africa the US or Hong Kong, thereby recharging the batteries for the rigours of the forthcoming school year.

Three years ago Mary was beset by serious illness, true to the form she accepted her 'cross' with serenity, courage and good humour. Throughout the struggle her primary concerns were for the needs of her loved ones. She frequently remarked: 'There were people far worse off than me'. When it was suggested that she might benefit from the splendid services available at the Hope Centre in Enniscorthy, Mary gently replied that the best therapy for her was a trip to the shop in Wellingtonbridge. There, she was sure to meet some dear friends. Mary really enjoyed the convivial company sharing a chat and a laugh to banish the cares of the world.

During the latter stages of Mary's illness those ever-loyal friends and neighbours certainly came up trumps. They constantly visited her, bearing flowers and treats; but most importantly, they came to chat and to banter with a precious friend and benefactor. Never was such generosity more richly deserved or more thoroughly appreciated.

Early on the morning of Sunday, September 24; Mary passed away most serenely in the company of her adoring family. May her gentle soul rest in peace!

'Go raibh leaba sna bhaflaithis ag Máire usual séimh.'

Our profound condolences are extended to her grieving husband and children; to her grandchildren; to her revered relatives'; to her magnificent neighbours; and to a myriad of bereft friends.

'Ni bheidh a leitheid ann arás.'

New Ross Standard

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