27 Sept 2022

Evie Magnier Stockwell lived 'a wonderful and happy life', mourners at her funeral are told

Respected breeder of thoroughbreds is laid to rest

Evie Magnier Stockwell

Evie Magnier Stockwell, pictured with legendary jockey Lester Piggott, was fulfilled by the quantity and quality of her life, mourners at her funeral were told

It isn't often that somebody in their 98th year could be said to have died unexpectedly, but such was Evie Magnier Stockwell's boundless energy and joie de vivre that in her case it was true, mourners at her Requiem Mass in Fethard were told today.

Mrs Magnier Stockwell, one of the most respected breeders of thoroughbred horses in Ireland and mother to Coolmore founder John Magnier, was surrounded by her loving family when she passed away on Saturday morning at her home at Railway House, Farnaleen, Fethard.

Delivering the eulogy at the concelebrated Mass at the Church of the Holy Trinity in Fethard, Professor Peter Murchan, Consultant Surgeon at Tipperary University Hospital, said that although she had acknowledged for some time that was in the autumn of her life, Evie didn't want any fuss or drama.

She had never sought praise and she never wanted it. She had lived a wonderful and happy life and was fulfilled by the quantity and quality of her life.

When you totted up the balance sheet of her life, with the good and not-so-good things that had happened, Evie acknowledged that the good things triumphed over anything else.

She was in no way morose and had no fear of dying. She told her family that she was looking forward to meeting up again with her husband Tom and her son Peter, both of whom had predeceased her.

The mourners at the Mass, who included Evie's daughter Anne, sons John and David and her grandchildren, great grandchildren, relations and friends, were told that her biggest passion in life was people.

"She loved people, particularly her family. She loved her family, all of you, no matter what you did. She loved you unconditionally and she was proud of your positive achievements," said Professor Murchan.

And she had another family in the people who loved her, adored her and helped her.

She had a wonderful and happy life, despite some very harsh knocks along the way. She had a stoicism and teak-tough mental resolve that she displayed right down to the final furlong.

She was born into a substantial family, the Hallinans, who had a very positive work ethic, and she led a very busy life with her adored twin sister Mimi, who had passed away last month.

She was drawn to the formula of work ethic, effort, fun and family. She witnessed this at home and was able to pass it onto the next generation, including her grandchildren and great grandchildren.

This inane business acumen and work ethic was unavoidable in her life and was actually part of her DNA.

Before the outbreak of the Second World War the twins moved to London for their education but were soon evacuated to Harrogate in Yorkshire because the Battle of Britain was raging.

On her return to Ireland she met Tom Magnier at a tennis match in Fermoy in 1946 and it was love at first sight. She later said that the poor man never had a chance! 

Despite the arrival of four children in quick succession, she involved herself into the running of the family farm at Grange, near Fermoy, as well as the busy stud farm and their other businesses. They had a pub, an auctioneers business and an undertakers.

It wasn't all hard work, and sport was a prominent part of their life together. She excelled at tennis and golf was the game she enjoyed most.

Tom and herself were a formidable couple and they won the national mixed foursomes at Milltown Golf Club in 1947. 

Sadly, at a young age Tom became ill and he died when Evie was only 37. Her world collapsed in on top of her at that stage, and the future for her and her children looked very uncertain. But she rolled up her sleeves, she got her hands dirty and she kicked on.

She held onto her farm at Grange and raised her family, despite the difficulties she faced.

It was hard for her when her son Peter predeceased her three years ago but she battled back with her incredible stoicism and got her mojo back.

She happily watched her children mature and helped them in their own pursuits in life.
Professor Murchan said that her love of horses was quite legendary, considering that she came to them a little later in life.

She developed a great love of pedigrees and the nuances of breeding them. Fillies were her thing, and the wonderful Fairyland was so special, and she enjoyed great success with her, as well as the great racing mare Lahinch. 

She loved her visits to Ballydoyle, where she would climb into the jeep with trainer Aidan O'Brien and watch her hoses live and in action.

She had moved home a number of times but her gardens, whether she lived in Grange, Lismore, Kilsheelan or Railway House near Fethard, were always perfect, Professor Murchan added. 

Following the Requiem Mass, Evie Magnier-Stockwell was laid to rest at a private burial in Kilcrumper Old Cemetery in Fermoy.

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