The late Mary Cashen
The death, which occurred on May 16 last, of Mary Cashen, (née Smyth), Monadreen, occasioned profound sadness in the Cathedral Town, and much further afield, where she was a hugely respected and beloved member of the community.
Mary died peacefully at the age of 86, at her home following a short illness, surrounded by her loving family.
A native of Navan, she made Thurles her home in 1965 after her husband William (Bill), a native of Carrig, Birr, transferred to the Cathedral Town when working for the then Department of Agriculture Land Project.
Mary immediately immersed herself in life in Thurles, joining the ICA, of which she was a member for many years.
She was also a devoted member of the Tuesday night bridge club, an association she maintained for over 50 years. Both herself and Bill, who taught bridge, were aficionados of the game and enjoyed many nights entertainment in the company of good friends.
She gave dedicated service to many institutions in the town over the years, fundraising some decades ago for a new Ursuline Secondary School, giving over forty years of service to the Meals on Wheels and providing practical assistance to church affairs - performing tasks from change counting to cleaning the brasses! She was happiest when busy and had boundless energy, a trait which continued up to the end of her life.
Mary found a true passion though when she joined Thurles Golf Club in the early 1970's and it quickly became her 'second home'.
Over the years she served in many prestigious positions, such as President, Captain, Secretary and PRO but it was her dedication to every facet of the club's practical operations that singled her out as unique.
Mary was very much the heart and soul of Thurles Golf Club, ensuring that every competition and event was efficiently run and, above all, issuing a warm welcome to members and visitors alike.
Hers was the first face encountered on the days of all major events but she was also a friendly and welcoming figure to anyone just calling casually to the club for a bite to eat or on a social outing.
It can justifiably be said that this was a lady who had far more interest in ensuring the efficient running of the club, and lending whatever assistance she could, than in taking to the fairways herself.
She had a wonderful generosity of spirit, sharing her many talents with all with whom she came into contact.
She was loathe, though, to accept recognition for her many talents and achievements, despite the best efforts of many to show appreciation for her considerable contribution to many organisations in Thurles over the years.
She had her own unique no-nonsense approach to life, was a woman who beamed with energy and enthusiasm, and gave constantly and selflessly to everyone she came in contact with.
She was also a huge mentor to younger members of Thurles Golf Club, who valued her counsel and who benefited greatly from her advice.
Mary had a wide circle of friends, who contributed enormously to her enjoyment of an active life. She was also a wonderful neighbour at her home in Monadreen and would be the first to acknowledge that her neighbours too were wonderful friends to her.
A lady who brought great joy and laughter wherever she went, she had an indomitable spirit and what many would regard as a refreshing and utterly pragmatic outlook to life.
Indeed, in her own inimitable style, she left her beloved family a two page list of instructions to be undertaken following her passing. And woe betide them if they failed to live up to her wishes!
Fortified by her strong religious belief, she was a regular at the daily morning Mass in the Cathedral of the Assumption.
Mary was blessed to enjoy great health until just a short few months ago.
She become ill in January but her death nonetheless came as a significant blow to her many great friends in Thurles, who were deeply saddened at the loss of such a wonderful woman.
Her passing, though, is a particular blow to her beloved children and grandchildren, who can take comfort from the many wonderful memories they will cherish of this unique lady.
Mary was predeceased by Bill, who passed away in August 2010.
She is sadly missed by her son Karl, daughters Deirdre, Frances and Miriam, daughter-in-law, sons-in-law, adoring grandchildren and great-grandchildren, extended family and wide circle of friends.
Reposing took place in Kennedys Funeral Home, Dublin Road, Thurles and a guard of honour of Thurles Golf Club accompanied her on her final journey to the Cathedral of the Assumption.
Funeral Mass took place on Sunday May 19 followed by burial in St. Patrick's Cemetery.
May her gentle soul rest in eternal peace.