The death on Tuesday May 22 of Mary Lonergan (nee Quinn), Greenmount, Newcastle, Clonmel, and late of Fihertagh, Bansha, evoked deep and widespread sorrow throughout communities in South Tipperary. Mary had successfully come through major surgery in March and was recuperating at home when she became ill and was re-admitted to hospital at the end of April. In returning to hospital Mary and her family were full of hope that she would make a full recovery and it was not until the week prior to her passing that the seriousness of her condition became known. Mary accepted this devastating news with great resignation and with remarkable courage and requested to return to Greenmount to spend her remaining days in the comfort of her own home and with her family and friends by her side. This wish was granted to her and she passed away peacefully at home on the morning of Tuesday May 22 with her family around her. Mary was the youngest daughter of the late Larry and Mary Quinn of Fihertagh, Bansha. One of a family of seven she attended Bansha National School and later completed her secondary education at Tipperary Vocational School before commencing employment as secretary to Richard Fahey, MRCVS, Cahir. An accomplished singer Mary competed in many Scór competitions during her younger years and later was part of the very successful band ‘Minus One’ which played many venues in the Munster area and even completed a tour of venues in England. Mary’s brother Larry and sister Eileen were also members of the same band. Mary met the love of her life in Pat Lonergan and they were married in 1980 and settled in Newcastle. Family was the cornerstone of Mary’s life and the arrival of her children; David, Mark, John and Kate, brought great joy to the household.
As the boys and Kate grew up there was not an event or a game, no matter how minor, that Mary was not to found at, always present to offer quiet support and encouragement.
Mary wasn’t one for foreign holidays or trips abroad. She was more content on the beach in Clonea than on any five star holiday destination. Her children and close friends will recall the many happy times spent together in Clonea or camping in The Nire and will no doubt treasure those very happy memories as these were the outings that Mary enjoyed the most. During recent years Mary was secretary at Noel O’Keeffe Car Sales in Newcastle and endeared herself to management and customers alike with her gentle, warm, friendly and efficient manner.
Mary’s life, illness and passing was an inspiration to everyone. She bore her suffering without complaint and with great resignation. Her final days in Greenmount will be treasured by everyone but particularly by her immediate family.
Surrounded by those who loved her dearly Mary was home where she belonged and at peace with her impending journey. Talk of times past, laughter, music, song and tears were all part of her final days and are memories that those closest to her will retain in their hearts and minds forever.
The light may be extinguished but the spirit lives on and Mary will never be forgotten by those who loved and cared so deeply for her. The huge crowds of people who came to pay their respects at her home and who attended her Funeral Mass and Burial are testament to her immense popularity. Her Funeral Mass, which was celebrated by Fr. Desmond, PP, was a celebration of her life and a tribute to her love of family and community. Fr. Desmond was joined in the celebration of Mass by Mary’s cousin, Fr. Joseph Ryan (Mellifont Abbey) and by Fr. James Egan, PP, Knockavilla, who performed the marriage ceremony of Mary and Pat when he was curate in Bansha. Newcastle GAA paid their last resects to Mary by forming a Guard of Honour at the approach to the Church and the graveside in Mullough Cemetery the Quinn Family paid their final tribute to their sister by singing one of her favourite songs, the Kris Kristofferson number “Darby’s Castle”. May her gentle soul Rest in peace. Ar dheis De go raibh a Anam dilis.
Mary is survived by her husband Pat, sons David, Mark and John, daughter Kate, brothers, Larry, Martin, Noel and Peter, sisters Anne (Costigan) and Eileen (O’Brien), and by her extended family including daughter-in-law Nicola, mother-in-law Maureen and many other relatives and close friends. Mary’s Months Mind Mass will be celebrated in St. Mary’s Church, Newcastle on Sunday June 17th at 11am.