Shranacloy, Louisburgh, Co Mayo
Kathleen passed away peacefully at Mayo University Hospital on November 25, 2020, following a very brief illness.
Kathleen was born on August 31, 1934, in Falduff, to Ted and Nora O’Malley (née Moran), the eldest of five children, with siblings, John and Michael O’Malley (deceased), Mary Sammon (deceased) and Nora Kearney (Cloona). Kathleen attended Kilsallagh National School and at 14 years of age she took up her first job in the Shirt Factory in Westport when the family moved to live in High Street, Westport. A number of years later she met her future husband Patrick Kitterick (RIP) and they married in 1955. They lived for a short time in Carrabawn, before moving to Birmingham to work for a few years before settling in Shranacloy, where they reared a family of eight.
“That will go alright in the end, God is good.”
This was one of the many pieces of advice our mother gave us when we were in the midst of chaos. This was typical of her attitude and philosophy in life. She really did believe that “the darkest hour is before the dawn” and she would believe also that the darkest hour had already passed and now was the time for things to start getting better. This steadfast belief was to sustain her throughout her life and was still evident in her final hours.
She had an unshakable and deep faith which she held on to, growing stronger and stronger with time. Daily prayers, Sunday Mass, among many other religious events played a huge part in her life. It was a wide, deep and tolerant faith, putting people and their needs first, and understanding human weakness and the personal struggles people had. Her vocation in life was her family, children and grandchildren. But this was extended well beyond immediate family, if you made her acquaintance, you got her very own brand of kindness, support, encouragement, prayers and love. She loved and admired all her sons-in-law, daughters-in-law and partners of her grandchildren. She took great pride in all her own family’s achievements and her grandchildren’s achievements, whether sporting or academic. She would question them on the grades achieved in their exams, if she didn’t get a straight answer right away she drew her own conclusions! In her final days she experienced the great joy of the birth of her first great grandchild Grace Katherine, filling her with happiness to look at her picture. She loved family occasions and was always focussing on the next event with that enormous optimism that she seemed to have in spades.
This approach and mindset opened up many exciting travel opportunities. She holidayed with family and grandchildren in Austria, Portugal, Lanzarote (yes she did the camel ride ), Denmark, USA, Coventry and a surprise 80th birthday party in Exeter, to name but a few. She regularly visited Gerard in Dublin and Claire in Galway. Wherever she went, she made a big impression on people in a short while. Hard work never daunted her while raising a family and also working outside on the farm. When she moved to Shranacloy from the UK, farming was very new to her but like everything else she did, she went forward with faith and the most positive attitude. She was still able to make time for her family, while immersing herself in the neighbourhood, becoming popular in Shranacloy and the surrounding areas very quickly.
Our mother spent a lot of her life looking after people including her mother-in-law Kate and her nephew-in-law Philip, who had special needs. Kathleen lost her husband Patrick 31 years ago. Although a devastating loss, she faced the future with strong faith and determination drawing on her family for support during this difficult time. She also nursed her own mother in the last months of her life. Kathleen was a Western Care door-to-door collector for at least 30 years, a role she took great pride in.
Among her many hobbies, she loved going to bingo and card games and looked forward to the outing every week. Her homemade bread, apple tarts and her treacle cakes were legendary. She was an accomplished knitter of Aran sweaters and woollen socks. Her mobile phone was an essential piece of technology and for many years she sent texts to everyone, she did so right up to the end in hospital. She also took a massive interest in Mayo football and cheered them on from her armchair many times.
We are filled with gratitude that we had our mother so long and that she was able to live in her own home till the end. All her family played a part in helping to make this happen as did all her grandchildren. We however specially acknowledge the grandchildren next door, Joseph, Kevin and Katelyn and their parents Kevin (son) and Ann Marie (daughter-in-law) and Ann (daughter) who were an enormous support and helped to make her living at home possible. We would also like to acknowledge another grandchild, Áine, a nurse in Mayo University Hospital whom we were so blessed to have by our mother’s side during her last days.
Kathleen will be forever missed by her sons Colm, Tom, Joe, Gerard and Kevin, daughters Lucy, Ann and Claire, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, grandchildren, great-grandchild, sister Nora Kearney and brother-in-law Seán, cousins and many friends.
May her kind and gentle soul rest in peace.