WESTPORT’S oldest native, Kathleen Clancy, has just celebrated her 105th birthday in the ‘windy city’ of Chicago.
Kathleen, formerly Kenny, was born in December, 1906 at the Bog Gate, The Demesne, Westport. She was one of 11 children born to Charles Kenny and Bridget Walsh. She was educated locally and in 1935 married Bill Clancy who was then manager of Lipton’s grocery shop at Bridge Street, Westport, now the Foxford shop. They had seven children, Cathal, Liam, Mary, Paddy, Joseph, Kay and Gerard. They are all alive and well with the exception of Joseph, who was killed in the Vietnam War.
In 1954 the family emigrated to Chicago and Kathleen has lived most of her life in her present house on North Magnolia Avenue in Chicago City. Fifty-eight years later she is one of Chicago’s most respected centenarians while she and her family are known the length and breadth of the ‘windy city’ and, by all accounts, are a force to be reckoned with on many fronts.
To this day kathleen enjoys great health and is very proud of the fact that she has never lost her Westport accent. She has a fantastic memory which she attributes to her lifelong membership of the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association - ‘no cerebral damage caused by alcohol consumption’. She reminisces regularly about her native Westport and has particularly fond memories of growing up there, especially her time in Attireese and the Demesne. After her marriage to Bill Clancy they lived at Newport Road for a time before deciding to emigrate. Kathleen, the last of her generation, was sister of former Mayo footballer, Jack Kenny, The Fountain (Town Clock), Westport, Frank Kenny, St Mary’s Crescent; former manager of The Mayo News Joe Kenny; former member and Chairman of Westport Urban District Council Charlie Kenny (father of Cllr Margaret Adams), Harry Kenny (Chicago), Paddy Kenny (Bog Gate), Bert Kenny (London), Ciss Ryan (Tubbercurry) and Bridie Walsh (Barnet, London).
Through the columns of The Mayo News (which she still reads from time to time) Kathleen would like to be remembered to all her relatives and friends. She would like to thanks all who sent her best wishes for her birthday last December and is already looking forward to her 106th.
Kathleen, very best wishes to you from your native place. Céad slán duit and happy St Patrick’s Day.
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