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Ann Friel

Obituaries

Letterbrock, Liscarney, Westport, Co Mayo

Ann passed away peacefully at her home on April 14, 2021, surrounded by her loving children. She was the nucleus of the family and her passing has created a deep void.
Ann was born on April 7, 1939, to the late Michael and Ellen Gavin of Roigh, Liscarney, Westport, the fifth of six children.  She had a very happy childhood with her four surviving siblings and had a great love of animals, especially cats.  After completing two years in secondary school, she worked in the Doubling Mills in Westport where she made friends for life.  
Ann met Joe, the love of her life, at a dance in Aughagower and they enjoyed 58 happy years together during which time they had six children, Majella, Dympna, Julie, Carol, Joe and Michael. One of their happiest memories, which she spoke about frequently, was their trip to Kerry to celebrate their 25th Wedding Anniversary where they attended the Rose of Tralee Festival. Music and dance was a big part of Ann and Joe’s life together and in later years, they enjoyed a great social life with family and friends in the local pubs and community, where she proudly listened to Joe on the accordion.
She worked hard as a housewife and a mother and enjoyed sewing, knitting, baking and her garden, but most of all the Friday night trip to bingo for what was no doubt a well deserved break.
Ann had a deep faith and always made time for prayer, the rosary and Mass. Over the years, she visited Lough Derg on many occasions and she also visited Eskar and Lourdes, she never missed an opportunity to go to Knock, which was her favourite. Despite many health challenges, she always played things down and took great strength from prayer and her faith.  She often said “there is a God, and he is a good one”.
Ann loved her family dearly and although some of them set up their lives abroad, she looked forward to their many trips home. She travelled to New York, London and Paris to spend time with her family and celebrate special occasions and also enjoyed shopping, especially on her many trips to family in Dublin. One of the most difficult times for Ann came with the untimely passing of her darling grandson Niall in New York in 2012.
She looked forward to the many visits from her sisters, brother, neighbours and friends and was so devastated with the arrival of the pandemic.  She took great comfort during that time being able to converse with the family by Zoom and WhatsApp and see her beloved grandchildren.
Despite the gradual decline in her health, she kept her independence and her good humour to the end. We are grateful she got to spend her final days at home in her “nest” with the family.  One of the recurring themes from the many messages of condolence was that she was a “true lady” and she has left a beautiful legacy which we will cherish forever.
Ann’s regard in the community and beyond was evident from the many beautiful tributes received. Fr Tony King was the chief celebrant at the requiem Mass, joined by Fr Shane Costello and he gave a lovely homily of celebration of her life and faith. Pat Friel (her brother-in-law) accompanied by Mary Friel and Liam Grealis provided music and song in a fitting tribute to a life in which traditional music and song was forefront and in a church where Ann was a proud choir member for many years.
Ann was pre-deceased by her loving husband Joe, her parents Michael and Ellen Gavin, her brother Tommy-Joe, sister Bridie and her darling grandson, Niall Heraty.
She is survived and sadly missed by her daughters Majella Flynn (Dublin), Dympna Kelly (Westport), Julie Heraty (New York) and Carol O’Sullivan (London), sons Joe (Dublin) and Michael (Paris), sisters Mary O’Malley (Roigh) and Nellie McDonnell (Erriff), brother Pat Gavin (New York), grandchildren Karen, Melissa, Conor, Caitriona, Luc, Ryan, Emily, James, Daniel, Jack and Leo, daughters-in-law Edel and Cecile, sons-in-law Pat, Michael, Vincent and Tony, sister-in-law Eileen Gavin, brothers-in-law Pat and Tommy Friel, nieces, nephews, extended family and wide circle of friends.