Mrs Maureen Croskery

MRS Maureen Croskery (née Caldwell), of 93 Stream Street, Downpatrick, died peacefully in the Ulster Hospital, Dundonald, on Sunday, April 12.

Maureen was born in Drumreagh, Rostrevor, on December 27, 1938, and was the third eldest child and youngest daughter of Edward and Rosaleen Caldwell.

Maureen spent her childhood at St Colman’s Gardens and attended Drumreagh Primary School. At the age of 16, Maureen left her beloved Rostrevor and pursued a summer job on the Isle of Man where she started her career in the hospitality industry.

She later moved back to County Down and went on to become a silver service waitress. Maureen worked at the Great Northern Hotel in Rostrevor, then moved to the Slieve Donard Hotel in Newcastle where she met her future husband, Bernie Croskery, who was a chef.

The couple were married on September 27, 1963, at St Mary’s Star of the Sea Church, Rostrevor. The reception was held at the Liverpool Hotel, Warrenpoint, and honeymoon was spent in Morecombe, England.

The couple spent their early married life in Annsborough and Larne. After a few years they settled in Ardmeen Green in Downpatrick and Ballycruttle. Maureen and Bernie then moved to their family home in Stream Street in 1978.

 Maureen was well known for her sense of dedication and fairness, but it was a hard work ethic for which she will be mostly remembered. She spent many a late night working in either the family chip van, the Lobster Pot in Strangford or the Abbey Lodge Hotel until the wee small hours whilst juggling a family of seven children — a role which came naturally to her.

For Maureen, it was all about her family and she loved nothing more than the house full of family and friends. The door was always open and there was always a “bite and a sup” at 93 Stream Street. Some nights the craic and the music did flow, but it was in the “wee small hours” when it was Maureen’s time to shine where she would tell all her “wee stories” and her unique poetic licence would take over.

Maureen also loved going back to Rostrevor to visit family and friends and would often spend time going back to “Big Mummy’s house” in Drumreagh for a night of craic.

Maureen loved her garden and spent a lot of her time planting potatoes and other vegetables, taking great delight in attending to and watering them each night. She was also known for her soup, which her grandchildren would fondly call ‘Granny’s Soup’, a recipe handed down from her own mother and which was always requested from her family in Australia when they made the trip back home to Downpatrick.

Maureen wasn’t one for overseas travel, only venturing abroad for small trips to visit family and friends. However, in 1994 Maureen and Bernie took the opportunity to travel to New Zealand to meet their first granddaughter and see their sons who had moved there a few years previously.

This was the first time Maureen needed a passport and the longest travel journey she had ever been on, even stopping in Japan during the trip. Maureen always said she loved experiencing the different culture New Zealand had to offer and often reminisced about the wonderful memories made on that trip.

Also known as Granny Maureen, she had a special bond with all her grandchildren. However, Maureen had a particularly special bond with her granddaughter, Karla Smyth — her “wee mate”.

Karla would pop in most nights to top up the coal bucket for her granny, make cups of tea or even just for a wee chat. Tragically, Karla passed away in April 2009 just before her ninth birthday, six months after Bernie had passed away. This was a tough time for Maureen, but her deep faith, love and belief in God, as well as the support of her family and Father Patrick Devlin, got her through that sad time. 

The last six years were difficult for Maureen as her health declined and she had several trips to the hospital. Every time she was in hospital she would yearn for her home and when she got home she would always say “home I am, and home I will stay”.

Predeceased by her husband, granddaughters Karla and Cara, and brother Joe, Maureen will be sadly missed by all her immediate family — children Jerome, Dolores, Brian, Sharon, Tracey, Edward and Cathy, grandchildren Eilish, Caolan, Lucy, Dylan, Anna and wee Grace, and her siblings, Rosaleen, Kathleen, Eddie and Martin.

The interment was private due to Government guidelines and was held on April 15 in Aughlisnafin Cemetery.