There was an air of great sadness in the Newport area as the news travelled of the passing of Elizabeth ‘Baby’ Bracken, a popular and well known lady in the town, known to many as ‘Auntie Baby’. Baby passed away peacefully among family members and the wonderful nursing staff of Cuan Chaitriona, on Tuesday, November 6, 2018.
Baby was born Elizabeth Cusack on May 1, 1920 to Elizabeth and Mark Cusack Newport. She was the third of five children and although her mother died while she was only two-years-old and her father when she was only 12, she was cared for and greatly loved by her uncles and aunts in the Cusack family. She attended the local Convent of Mercy where she also completed a book-keeping course. From the age of eight, due to the wonderful gift of voice which all the Cusacks had, she joined the Newport Church Choir. She was totally committed to her weekly choir practice and attendance at Sunday Mass and funeral masses where she sang with the choir until the age of 93. For this commitment of unbroken service she was awarded the Bene Merenti medal.
Her talent and love of music caught the eye of her husband to be Gerard Bracken when he formed the Twilight Serenaders and Baby was invited to become the soloist and pianist. For many years they travelled all over Ireland playing at Hunt Balls, dinner dances and local dances.
Following her marriage to Gerard Bracken, their combined love of music and drama led to staging various plays, pantomimes and revues in Newport Hall where they were both on stage on the opening night of the Parochial Hall. They entered drama competitions, winning many awards, top of the list being ‘The Righteous Are Bold’. She was also prominent in the many revues staged in the town and in the Tops of the Town competitions in Castlebar, Galway and Sligo. Baby loved the stage and thoroughly enjoyed every performance.
Baby was devoted to her husband Gerard, who was her greatest companion and friend, and greatly missed him when he passed away in 2005. They shared a wonderful life together with their two daughters, living first on Meddlicott Street and later moving to Sandymount on the Westport Road. She was known everywhere she went for her fun loving ways her warm and hearty laugh and her great zest for life.
She was a wonderful cook and baker and instilled her love of cooking and baking in her daughters Geraldine and Dolores, her grandchildren and her nieces. She loved to visit her family and many friends and around Christmas time would oversee their baking, exchanging recipes and sharing advice.
In later years she attended Cuan Modh Day, the local day centre, seldom missing a day and watching the clock for the Cuan Modh bus to collect her. There, she enjoyed being one of the more senior members and taking party in all the activities. She loved meeting new friends, learning art and crafts and winning at bingo.
Her fullness of life, her love for everything and everyone was what characterised Baby for her many friends. he enriched the lives of all who knew her and was held in very high regard by all, living her life with an abundance of joy, she was an example to all.
Baby followed the way of Jesus, never missing her Mass or her weekly adoration, and her prayer book and rosary beads were always by her side.
When thinking of Baby, think of her laugh, her smile, her words and her spark. Remember her as she was and what she was about. Remember a story and remember her.
Baby will always be remembered and sadly missed by her daughters Geraldine and Dolores, sons-in-law Dermot and Gerard, grandchildren Lorraine, Colm, Dara, Alexandra and Alison, great-grand-children Erin and Ryan, nieces, nephews and extended family and friends. May she rest in peace.