Friday 19 April 2019

May was a devoted mother and kind, popular businesswoman

Obituary: May Fogarty Hennessy

The late May Fogarty Hennessy
The late May Fogarty Hennessy

May Fogarty Hennessy, who passed away on May 17, was a devoted mother and astute businesswoman who ran a busy pub and shop on Mary Street for many years.

May (née Hartley), died aged 86 at Mill House Nursing Home in New Ross, following a short illness. She was born in Weatherstown, Glenmore, and grew up alongside her siblings Pat, Oliver and Stella and the late Jack, Neddy, Jimmy and Eily. She attended Shanbogh NS and went on to work in Christy Daly's grocery shop where she met John Fogarty.

The two hit it off and were married going on to have five children. They bought number 4 and number 5 Mary Street opening a grocers and bar. There they worked side by side and developed a thriving business, with loyal customers benefiting from May's generosity and kindness with her famous 'red book' ledger. When John died in 1975 May carried on with the businesses and was a constant presence six days a week behind the bar and shop counters. The pub was a great meeting place in the centre of New Ross at a time when the port town was heaving with people. She was ably assisted by her children Larry, James, Sean, Michael and Eleanor. May went on to marry Paddy Hennessy and between running the shop and bar and rearing five children she seldom had an opportunity to wind down and relax. A woman who lived her deep faith, May was a regular Mass goer.

In later years she often looked back on the visit of President John F Kennedy as one of the highlights of her youth, recalling how she got to see him up close.

A friendly woman who had a listening ear, May's warm personality endeared her to many. She never saw a customer stuck and went out of her way to help people.

May retired in 2002 and moved to Woodland Grove where she enjoyed countless visits from her ever growing number of grandchildren.

A bright, intelligent conversationalist, May loved to read the daily newspapers and could talk in great detail on any topic. Her placid, friendly character ensured she made friends everywhere she went, including at New Ross Active Retired group, for which she acted as treasurer.

May moved in to Mill House Nursing Home in 2010 where she received fantastic care over the following eight years and where she died peacefully on May 17 aged 86.

A crowd attended her funeral Mass at St Mary & St Michael's Parish Church and her burial afterwards in St Stephen's Cemetery.

May is survived by her children Larry, James, Sean, Michael and Eleanor; step-children Robbie, Patricia and Jackie; siblings Pat, Oliver and Stella; by her grandchildren; son-in-law; daughters-in-law; brothers-in-law; sisters-in-law; nephews; nieces; relatives and friends. May her gentle soul rest in peace.

New Ross Standard