Mrs. Mary Rice

IT was with deep sadness and regret that the community learned of the death of Mrs. Mary Rice, who at the time of passing was a resident of Greenvale Nursing Home in Castlewellan, but formerly lived for many years at 16 Mourne Green, Newcastle.

Mary was predeceased by her husband, James, in April 1993. She is survived by her seven children: Julia and husband Terence, Pittsburgh; Marie, Fermanagh; her only son John and wife Mandy, Newcastle; Patricia and husband Charlie, Newcastle; Caroline and husband Paul, Newcastle; Noreen and fiancé Brian and Tressa and her husband Steven, Belgium; also her grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews at home and abroad.

Mary was born in Wexford on January 26, 1927, to Margaret and Patrick Doyle. Sadly, her mother died when she was just 14 years old and like most families in those days she became tragically separated from her siblings. It took over 40 years before she found them again in England. However, the reunion was short lived as Bridie died in 1987, Joseph in 1991 and Stanley in 1993.

She moved to Newry with the help of Mother Columbanus, a Good Shepherd nun, and worked in the convent with her until she later got work in St. John of God’s nursing home.

She met James Rice at a dance in Newry Town Hall and he was later to become her loving husband — they married in Warrenpoint in 1949. They then moved to Annalong and later took residence in Newcastle in 1962.

A hard working mother, she raised seven children. This she did quite on her own as James was a full-time fisherman and through tough times she managed to keep the family in one piece.

It was her strength and determination that she attained from her experience as a young girl that made her the protective, resilient mother who was an inspiration to many.

Her loving nature spilled over to everyone that knew her. Her charmingly mischievous ways made her a joy to be around and everyone always had a good word to say about her happy-go-lucky attitude to life.

She was a proper lady, who had dignity and poise. A woman of pride, she would never be seen less than glamorous. However, whenever needed, she transformed into a cuddly teddy bear, ready to comfort her family due to her warm, big heart.

She and James were passionate about music. He played the mouth organ and she loved to sing. Whenever there was a sing-along, she was never far as she was always the life and soul of the party.

Mary lost her soul mate James in 1993 to lung cancer which devastated her and it was shortly after this that she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

In November 2006 she became a resident of Bayview Residential Home in Newcastle and later Greenvale Nursing Home, which became the last stop on her journey during her well lived life.

It was due to the loving care and attention from the carers and nurses in Greenvale that her last years were an ease and comfort to her and her family.

Mary was a fighter all her life and she didn’t lose her strong will as she aged. She lived with Alzheimer’s for 21 years and even in the last stages didn’t lose her manners, thanking the nurses and carers whenever they did anything for her.

She finally lost her battle on Wednesday, April 30, and fought hard to stay with her family. She was a courageous, determined lady to the very end and has certainly earned her place in heaven.

She will be remembered by many with love and fondness and will always be our hero.


Her funeral mass was on Saturday, May 3, in Our Lady of the Assumption Church, Newcastle, Father Declan officiating. Burial took place at St. Mary’s Cemetery, Glasdrumman.