Tullamore mourns great family and business woman

Tribune Reporter

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The late Rose O'Connor

Rose O' Connor, 89 O' Molloy St., Tullamore, passed away on Saturday last 22 June.    Rose (nee Gavin) is fondly remembered by her loving family as a great mother, step-mother, granny, great grandmother, mother in law and sister to her original family.   

Rose passed away peacefully in the great care of her grandson ,Keith, and his wife Demelza, surrounded by her loving family.    She was pre-deceased by her husband, Joe, in 1976.  She will be sadly missed by her her loving daughter, Mary, sons Martin and Kevin, stepsons Gerdy and Brendan and their wives Patricia and Bridie, son in law, Noel, daughters in law Linda and Kathleen, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, brothers Oliver, Joe and Vincent, sister Josie, sisters in law, brother in law, nieces, nephews, extended family, neighbours and friends.

Rose was originally from Rochfortbridge where family members still live.    She came to Tullamore in the early 1950's to seek work which she found in Salts Factory.    She stayed in digs with Bridie Murphy in Pearse Pk.    Bridie worked in the famous O' Connor's shop in O'Molloy St. and of course she introduced Rose to this family, and as they say the rest is history.

She married Joe O' Connor in Rochfortbridge in 1955, the marriage ceremony being celebrated by family friend, Fr. McManus.    She became a very caring step mother to her step children and a very caring mother to her children.   

She became very involved in the shop at 89 O' Molloy St. and this shop moved to Marian Place in 1959, on the birthday of her son Kevin.    She was to become immersed in this business, working very hard, often up to 10.00 p.m. at night.    Her step son, Gerdy also worked full time here.    Many still remember this great shop as it is a history of a different Tullamore when money was scarce and people depended on credit to get basic daily foodstuffs.    Those were the days when schoolchildren rushed in to buy "Bulls Eyes", "Nancy Balls" and "Penny Bars".    Home made ice lollies were a treat in the hot summer months.    After midnight on Fridays(as Friday then was a meat free fasting day) people came to buy delicious pigs crubeens for three pence each; these had been boiled for six hours.    The "Book" was the order of the day as locals bought their groceries on credit and paid at the end of the week.

Gerdy, Rose's stepson, recalls that tea and sugar were sold in ounces as very few people could afford to buy a pound of tea or sugar.    Cigarettes such as Woodbines, Sweet Afton and Gold Flake were the brands  of the day and were sold in packets of five or ten, and very often sold singly as well.    Turf was delivered to people's homes.    Candles were a big seller as many did not have electricity.    Hocks of ribs and streaky bacon were treats for Sundays.    Nine bales of briquettes cost one pound; coal cost ten shillings a bag and the same for a cylinder of gas.    This was a unique community shop where Rose worked hard to serve the community and rear her family.

For relaxation Rose would join her late husband, Joe, for a glass of Advocat  in Bernie Cash's pub in Patrick St. where she would regularly give a rendition of "Noreen Bawn" or "The Lonely Hospital".    She was a member of the Irish National Foresters where she enjoyed a game of darts.

The centre of Rose's life was her wide family.   

She always kept in close contact with everyone, whether it was local or with her family and relatives in England.    The mobile phone was rarely out of her hand.  During her final week she engaged with her family in England through facetime, speaking to them all before her health deteriorated further.    Her family very much appreciate the great care provided by Linda during her final weeks at home, by Keith and his wife Demelza, by the healthcare and palliative care staff.    This ensured that her final days were very comfortable and she passed away very peacefully.


The Funeral Mass on Tuesday  was celebrated  by Fr. Luke Ohiemi in the Church of The Assumption, Tullamore, followed by burial in Clonminch Cemetery.    A Guard Of Honour was provided by the Irish National 

Forresters  outside the Church and by the Tullamore St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee at the entrance to the graveyard.

Ar Dheis De Go Raibh A hAnam.

SO'B