ANNE Duggan, Mayo Abbey, whose death took place recently, served as a primary school teacher in Mayo for 45 years. She had a great devotion to her family and to her pupils down through the years and was blessed with a gentle, kind and compassionate disposition.
Anne had an abiding love for Mayo Abbey and Facefield and was an ardent supporter of Mayo Gaels and the county teams. She had a passion for the GAA and its role in the community life of the country. She took a keen interest in politics and current affairs and also had a great fondness for music and radio.
Anne Jeffers was born on the 27th February 1935. She was the third daughter and fifth child of seven born to the late James and Kate Jeffers in Townalough, Facefield. Her childhood home was one of music and laughter and the strong bonds with neighbours and family were most important.
She began her life long association with education when she attended the local national school in Facefield. From there she was awarded a scholarship by Mayo County Council for her secondary education where she attended the Convent of Mercy, Claremorris. She did her teaching training in Carysfort College in Blackrock, Dublin, and qualified as an NT in 1955.
Her first teaching post was in Fahy near Westport in September 1955. After two years in Fahy NS, she moved to her next post in Clogher National School. She spent four years in Clogher and went from there to Prizon National School outside Balla.
After twelve years as Principal of Prizon, in Sept 1973, following the retirement of her own principal Malachy Garvey, she returned to the very classroom where she herself attended some 30 years earlier when she was appointed Principal of Facefield National School.
She spent 27 happy years in Facefield until she retired in June 2000 having spent forty five years in the teaching profession.
Her son Peter, in a eulogy at the end of the Funeral Mass in Mayo Abbey Church, also recalled some of her other interests outside the classroom. “In former times, she featured in productions in the Maple Hall in Balla as part of the Muintir na Tire Drama group.
“She was a true Gael and the blue and saffron of Mayo Gaels flowed though her veins. She served as Secretary of Bord na nÓg for many years in the 70’s and in the late 90’s and well beyond 2000, she served as co-secretary of Mayo Gaels GAA club along with Phil McDonagh for over thirteen years. She was also heavily involved in Scór both as a participant in the Grupa Ceoil or organising teams for the Rince Foirne.
“Mam loved to dance and come the summer and every Monday night she and my father would go old time waltzing to the Brose Walsh band in the Beaten Path during the 1980s.
“Every day without fail she would sit in the chair in the evening and do the cryptic crossword in the Irish Independent.
“Mam and Dad (Tommy) married on 5th August 1964 and they set up home just a hundred yards down the road from here in Mayo Abbey. Hers was a busy life, with six small ones at home she continued on teaching. She was a devoted wife and mother. They minded each other well especially in recent years. Ours was a happy home and a carefree childhood and she and my father worked hard to afford us every opportunity in life.”
The large crowds at the funeral ceremonies bore ample testimony to the regard in which Anne was held all around the region. Canon Austin Fergus was the chief celebrant at the Requiem Mass and delivered a lovely homily celebrating the life of Anne and her huge contribution to the life of the parish.
He was joined by Fr Denis Carney, Fr Mike Murphy and Fr James Quinn. The music and singing was provided by Tom Lyons and Luisne Mellette. Interment took place in Mayo Abbey cemetery.
Anne, was pre-deceased by her brother Bill and sisters Mae Henry and Sr M Eilis Jeffers, will be sadly missed by her husband Tommy and their family, Miriam Quinn (Mayo Abbey), John (Mullingar), James (Mayo Abbey), Aileen Dennison (Straffan), Peter (Castlebar) and Karina Meade (Ballsbridge), 14 grandchildren, brother James Jeffers, sisters Kathleen Hennessy and Agnes Mellett, sons-in-law Paul, David and Damien, daughters-in-law Mignone and Denise, nieces, nephews, the extended family and wide circle of friends and neighbours.