May Keating, (nee Cleary), who died in August, was born in Ardgeeha, Clonmel on May 23, 1922. She was the eldest of six children of the late Daniel and Katy Cleary, Ardgeeha. On leaving school in 1935 May worked in a drapers in Clonmel until 1948, when she married her late husband William Keating of Ballybeg. Her first challenge was to organise the building of her family home where she would rear her family of ten children. Over the years she was involved within the community, as well as being a member of the I.C.A. May sadly passed away at the age of 88, after a short illness.
She was a kind, friendly, charitable woman whose sudden passing has shocked and saddened those who were lucky to have known her. She always enjoyed the company of her family, friends and neighbours. May was proud of her family connections within the religious orders, especially her sister Margaret (Sr. Columba), who is a member of the Dominican Sisters in Rome. Every evening May showed her devotion to her faith by saying the rosary. She also travelled to holy places such as Melleray, Knock, Fatima and the Vatican.
The large attendance of mourners that gathered to pay their last respects at her funeral was a testament to the high esteem in which she was held. May’s wake was held at her home in Ballybeg where prayers were said by Fr. P.J. Fagan. The remains were removed on August 8 to St. Nicholas Church in Grange. A guard of honour was carried out by her 27 grandchildren. Requiem Mass was celebrated by Fr. P.J. Fagan and Fr. John Byrnes and altar service was carried out by Evelyn Keating and Ciara Shine. Symbols were read at the ceremony by her granddaugher Emma Flynn and they were brought to the altar by her grandchildren Niamh Keating, Philip Keating, Mary Conlon, Tarina Keating and her great granddaughter Lucy Pavlides.
Readings at the ceremony were recited by May’s son Michael Keating and her granddaughter Ada Gilchrist. Prayers of the faithful were read by granddaughters Cliona Keating, Jennifer Keating, Georgina Pavlides, Elaine Keating, Claire Gilchrist and her grandson Kris Fenton. Sr. Columba and her grandson Brian Keating brought up the gifts.
May’s eldest son John spoke at the eulogy. He spoke fondly of her love of the farming life and her love for gardening that inspired her outlook on life, which was to learn from the past as we live now and look to the future. Her grandson Conor also spoke at the eulogy. He spoke about happy memories of a friendly welcoming smile, a warm kitchen, the smell of fresh home cooking and a copy of the daily newspaper.
Her love for current affairs was always a keen topic in May’s company. She always kept herself well informed. May was the cornerstone of the Keating family. She will be greatly missed.