JOE Casserly, Murneen, Claremorris, who died recently, was widely known around the Claremorris and Knock areas. He was 83 and was a man who had a great devotion to Knock Shrine over the decades.
He was one of a family of 14 born to Mike and Florence Casserly. The Casserly family had roots in Ballinastanford, Claremorris. Florence was an English woman who hailed from Barnsley, Yorkshire. They met in Kiltimagh. Prior to that, Mike had lived and worked in Cleveland, Ohio, for a number of years before returning to his native Mayo.
As a young man Joe spent a short time working at a holiday camp in Wales and he often recalled the happy time he had there back in the early1960s.
He returned to Murneen sometime later and spent the rest of his life in the home place, tending to the livestock and looking after the land. He had an abiding fondness for the animals in his care and treated them with immense regard and respect.
He always liked to keep an ass or two on the farm and one of his favourites in recent times was “Sally” who sometimes made her way into the kitchen and had her own way of attracting Joe’s attention when she came to the back door. Fr Peter Gannon made special reference to how he too had become acquainted with “Sally” during his funeral homily in Barnacarroll Church.
Joe had a resilient and unshakable faith that served him well during his life. For many years he led the congregation with decades of the Rosary before Mass in Barnacarroll Church. He always added in his own reflections, a stream of thought emanating from his heart. He studied sacred scripture and his faith was immense and an absolute core value in his life.
He had a tremendous devotion to Our Lady and served as a steward at Knock Shrine for long and many years. Joe loved meeting and greeting the pilgrims and assisting those in need in any way he could. He also made trips to Lourdes, Rome and Medjugorje, joyful and content in the company of friends.
He made numerous trips over to England down through the years, especially to Leeds which was home to so many of the Casserly family. Back in May, he attended the wedding of his nephew (John’s son) in Leeds.
Joe was often the life and soul of such gatherings. He had a humourous and witty side and loved the craic and banter when the company was good.
His weekly outings to St John’s Rest and Care Centre in Knock for the social occasions for the senior people were especially close to his heart. Joe loved to entertain and tell stories and share memories with friends. He was a great character whose observations on life were enlightening and whose outreach to others was always caring and compassionate.
Friends and neighbours turned out in big numbers for the funeral ceremonies with removal from Donnellan’s Funeral Home in Claremorris to Barnacarroll Church. Interment took place in the adjoining cemetery following Requiem Mass celebrated by Fr Peter Gannon, Fr Tommy Commins and Fr Eamonn Concannon.
In his homily, Fr Peter spoke of the many chats he had with Joe in the family home in Murneen and recalled some humourous stories (including the one about ‘Sally’) from those times. He had special words for the kindness and care lavished on Joe by Anthony and Karen Flynn and Marcella Molloy, all of which were such a comfort to Joe.
Fr Peter referred to Joe’s rock-like faith, his love for Knock Shrine, and his extraordinary commitment to living his faith to the full.
Joe Casserly was a cherished member of the local community in the Barnacarroll region and will be fondly remembered by many in the area and In Knock where he always felt so at home. The congregation at the Mass included many of his friends from Knock Day Care Centre who came to pay their respects.
Joe, who was also predeceased by his wife Margaret and his brothers Bernard and Richard (Leeds) and Charlie London) and sister Mary (Ballinamore, Co Leitrim), is survived by his step-son, Anthony Flynn and wife Karen, his brothers Jim (Leeds), Paddy (Leeds), Gerry (Dublin), John Leeds), his sisters Lily McAndrew (Ballina), Nora (Cleveland), Carmel (Manchester), Evelyn (Manchester) and Martina (London), nephews, nieces, in-laws, relatives, neighbours and friends. – MC.