Mrs Geraldine Keenan

MRS Geraldine Keenan, who died at her home, 3 Orchard Crescent, Downpatrick, on June 7 at the age of 66, was the eldest of seven children to George and Annie Murphy, of Ardmeen Green.

It was a shock when Geraldine was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer on March 1 this year. However, she faced the illness with courage and dignity, helped by her strong faith.

February 26,  2014, was the day that the love of Geraldine’s life died. She had lost her husband, Kevin, and she would not be able to get over this tragic loss.

Kevin and Geraldine had a caring and beautiful marriage, and were so kind and loving to each other. During their retirement they enjoyed many visits to various parts of the world, capturing their beauty in photographs which would be followed by a great story.

Geraldine adored her family, especially her two grandchildren, Aoife and Pádraig, who will miss her so much. The love and fun that was given to them will be held in their memories and hearts forever.

Geraldine had a wide circle of friends and kept in touch with them throughout the years. She loved her brothers, sister, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews.

She suffered a blow in 1988 when her brother, Michael, died in a tragic accident. It was during this time that she formed a close relationship with Fr Gerry McCloskey, with whom she was to remain a close friend for the next 30 years.

After leaving school Geraldine trained as a teacher at Sedgley, Manchester. On qualifying she got a position at St Mary’s Primary School, Killyleagh, where she remained throughout her career.

She loved the children and was highly respected by them and by her teaching colleagues. She had a particular flair for drama, elocution and art.

She loved to decorate her classroom at different times of the year. After retiring she continued this tradition at her home at Orchard Way for Christmas and Halloween. She put up the decorations not for herself, but or the children of the area. She was kind to them and they loved her in return.

She was an avid gardener, who enjoyed tending to her many plants, feeding the birds and listening to them sing, as well as reading and relaxing in her garden.

She was so proud of her garden and wrote in her journal when she was in the Ulster Hospital in April: “Simple things in life are free, so true, to enjoy watching the rainfall, sunshine and trees alive with blossom and foliage”.

At her funeral mass Fr McCloskey said: “When George phoned on Thursday morning to let me know that Geraldine had died, I think like all who knew what these last few weeks had been like. There was an overwhelming feeling of relief.

“Geraldine had suffered so much with her illness in recent months, but that does not take away our sadness of loosing such a great friend. Her family and friends will miss her deeply, her infectious laugh and beautiful smile.”

Geraldine is survived by her son, George, daughter-in-law Aisling, grandchildren Aoife and Pádraig, brothers George, Lawrence, John, Gerald, sister Jean, nieces, nephews and the extended family circle.

Her Month’s Mind mass will be celebrated in St Patrick’s Church, Downpatrick, this Saturday, July 7, at 5.30pm.