Saturday 20 January 2018

Caring Karen will be missed

A ONE time regional finalist for Housewife of the Year, Karen Kehoe passed away recently, with a large crowd turning out at Clongeen Parish Church to pay their final respects.

Karen Wallace was born in December 1952, the second daughter of the late Bernard and Nancy Wallace, Johnstown, Duncormick and Cullenstown. She is survived by her husband Martin, children, Willie John, Eleanor, Christina, Michelle and Martin Jnr; siblings Eleanor, Ann, Michael and Brian and eight grandchildren.

She attended schools in Danescastle, Kilkenny and Bridgetown Vocational; and continued her education pursuing her various interests through distance learning and night classes including Montessori, Personal Development, Swedish massage, reflexology, writing and art.

While training as a nurse in St. Senan's she met and married her husband, ploughman Martin Kehoe from Yoletown, Ballycullane. They settled in Ballybrack, Foulksmills and together they reared five children.

A loving wife and mother, Karen's family always came first in her life. She ran a busy household helping Martin run his farming business. Cooking and washing were the main activities, and the washing machine was on constantly. These busy times would often lead to trips to various parts of Ireland to collect spare parts where hours would be spent in the car, with intermittent singing and playing I-Spy. Karen would pack two large saucepans of stew and packed five children into the car to bring dinner to the silage men. For her children, these days were often a big adventure that would invariably end up back in her homeland of Cullenstown Strand and Auntie Eleanor's house. There would be a dip in the sea, sand castles made and a search for crabs in the rock pools.

Karen loved to travel far and wide with her husband Martin to World Ploughing Contests covering four continents. She enjoyed meeting other farming people from places like Canada, USA, Australia, Denmark, Wales, England and Austria. There she formed a strong bond with other ploughing families and built friendships which endured.

Her daughter Eleanor said: 'Everywhere she went she made lifelong friends and over the years many a tale was recalled from these times. Despite all her travelling she was a home-bird at heart and the fire was always lit and the kettle on for any would be visitor.'

Martin's involvement in ploughing and tug-o-war also brought many visitors from far and wide. Requests of 'making a drop of tea for a few' from Martin could mean anything from a couple visiting from another county to two bus loads from South Africa or six men from Russia who stayed for B&B. Karen had a great talent for whipping up a meal in minutes.

Karen was a keen reader throughout her life and loved keeping up with all the family news.

She is remembered as a kind, sincere, generous, and fun-loving person who loved to talk and meet people. Karen was a good neighbour who was always willing to help those in need. She would frequently visit with some of her baking. She was involved in several aspects of the community from ICA to Community Games at different times.

Karen's special gift was her way with children. She always made time for children and shared their natural curiosity and fun. Her nieces and nephews often came to stay and close relationships were established between all the cousins through days out in Kennedy Park and trips to the beach. The greatest joy in Karen's life was becoming a grandmother. She had eight grandchildren on whom she lavished attention. She was known as Nannie (Wexford) to Katie, Aoife, Niamh, Oisin, Donnacha, Roisin, Eimear and Aoibheann, who couldn't get enough of her company. With them she shared her love of nature and gardening. She was happiest pottering around her garden with her grandchildren looking at the plants, searching for bugs or gathering conkers or having water fights.

Despite suffering from ill-health throughout her life and her untimely death in October. This one time regional finalist for Housewife of the Year made the most of her life. She was unaware of the true impact her life had on those she loved and those who loved her. She will be sadly missed by her entire family and friends throughout the world who mourn her loss.

May her gentle soul rest in peace.

Wexford People

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