Gretta was known for her car­ing na­ture

Enniscorthy Guardian - - NEWS -

MAR­GARET (Gretta) Lawlor, New Oak Es­tate, Car­low who passed away re­cently at St Luke’s Hospi­tal, Kilkenny, fol­low­ing a brief ill­ness, was the former Gretta Cog­ley from St Ai­dan’s Vil­las, En­nis­cor­thy.

Gretta is re­mem­bered as a greatly loved wife, mother, grand­mother and great grand­mother.

Gretta Cog­ley’s life was beau­ti­fully chron­i­cled in a eu­logy at her Fu­neral Mass in Car­low’s Cathe­dral of the As­sump­tion.

Sean told the con­gre­ga­tion that Gretta Cog­ley was born on June 10, 1947 at St Ai­dan’s Vil­las, youngest of seven children. The Cog­ley fam­ily was hard-work­ing and re­li­gious. It was at home Gretta learned the art of car­ing at a young age from her par­ents, Bill and Cather­ine. He de­scribed Cather­ine Cog­ley as ‘a spe­cial lady’ who not alone cared for her fam­ily but on reg­u­lar oc­ca­sions cared for many nieces and neph­ews ‘while new lives were be­ing set up in Eng­land.

Sean con­tin­ued: ‘Like many of her gen­er­a­tion, Gretta left school young, at age 13, to start work, leav­ing En­nis­cor­thy to work in Dublin’s Mater hospi­tal’. This, he said, was an early sign of her courage. She later re­turned to work in St John’s hospi­tal, En­nis­cor­thy.

She en­joyed a sim­ple life­style, cy­cling to Cur­r­a­cloe beach, danc­ing lo­cally or at­tend­ing bingo in En­nis­cor­thy. It was at bingo in Car­low she first saw Michael Lawlor and he soon plucked up the courage to ask her for a date. There fol­lowed a five-year courtship and en­gage­ment. They formed a very spe­cial lov­ing re­la­tion­ship in mar­ried life, hav­ing tied the knot on July 26, 1969, start­ing their mar­ried life in one room of Mur­phy’s house in John Street, Car­low, where Gretta made life-long friends with the Mur­phy and Mc­Grath fam­i­lies.

‘When Gretta made friends they were friends for life – her loy­alty was un­con­di­tional’ said Sean. Over the next three years Sean, Christo­pher and David ar­rived with Michael and Gretta mov­ing to make a new, lov­ing home in New Oak Es­tate. Neigh­bours in New Oak be­came friends.

‘Ev­ery­thing Gretta did in her life was for her fam­ily, she never thought about her­self. It was al­ways what ev­ery­one else needed and who she could help.’ said her son.

Sean said that Christo­pher’s ill­ness was a test for Gretta’s early moth­er­hood but he had in­her­ited her courage and strength.

He spoke of his mother’s deep faith, stat­ing that her sons were raised with tra­di­tional and, some would say, old-fash­ioned val­ues – hon­esty, re­spect for God, re­spect for el­ders, hard work and al­ways do­ing one’s best and if you could not say some­thing nice say noth­ing at all. Good man­ners and hon­esty were the main core val­ues.

When the mar­riage ban was lifted in 1973, with the sup­port of Granny Katie Lawlor, Gretta re­turned to work in the County Home and Dis­trict Hospi­tal, Car­low as her vo­ca­tion for car­ing con­tin­ued.

‘Gretta loved tak­ing care of the pa­tients. Peo­ple have told me over the years how kind and gen­tle mammy was with the pa­tients and peo­ple would stop me and tell me what a won­der­ful, beau­ti­ful, kind and gen­tle per­son she was’, said Sean.

Her friend­ships in the Dis­trict Hospi­tal went be­yond work, she loved to meet work col­leagues away for the work­place for a chat and cup of tea, when her great sense of hu­mour would shine through.

Hol­i­days were times to visit fam­ily in Ire­land or Eng­land and she loved time spent with broth­ers and sis­ters, nieces and neph­ews.

In 1988 Gretta fell ill, an ill­ness she fought with courage and dig­nity. She never com­plained, her strength was in­spi­ra­tional. Her faith in God never wa­vered.

Gretta re­turned to work eight weeks af­ter surgery and within a year a new chap­ter opened in her life with the ar­rival of her first grand­child, Craig. She loved car­ing for the next gen­er­a­tion of the fam­ily. Craig was soon fol­lowed by grand­daugh­ters Me­gan and Sap­phire and her joy as a granny con­tin­ued with the birth of Phoenix.

Her joy con­tin­ued fur­ther with the ar­rival of great grand­chil­dren Harry and Bai­ley.

‘Gretta loved birthdays and Christ­mas and look­ing for the per­fect gift and to see the joy on faces as wrap­ping pa­per was opened’, said Sean.

Gretta’s sec­ond ill­ness af­fected her sight but, with hus­band Michael’s sup­port, she came through that treat­ment and her sight was re­stored. Her sense of hu­mour shone through this treat­ment. Though very tough, the Bo­tox treat­ment for her eyes was met with many a joke and great laugh­ter as Caro­line and Deb­bie joked about swap­ping places for the Bo­tox ap­point­ments.

Of a char­i­ta­ble dis­po­si­tion Gretta made monthly con­tri­bu­tions to St Vin­cent de Paul, vol­un­teered for the Ir­ish Cancer So­ci­ety ‘and never passed a col­lec­tion or a cap on the street.’ She was also a strong sup­porter of the Ir­ish life­guard move­ment (RNLI).

Sean con­tin­ued: ‘Christo­pher’s sud­den death in Jan­uary 2015 was a huge shock to us all but only a mother knows the pain of los­ing a child. Gretta was heart­bro­ken and that sad­ness never re­ally left her.’

Two months be­fore her death Gretta fell ill again but this time she did not have the time to fight it.

While his mother’s pain is gone ‘ her courage and strength lives on in all of us’, he said.

Sean con­cluded by say­ing: ‘ Through­out Gretta’s life there were some com­mon threads: in­cred­i­ble courage and strength; faith in God; love and car­ing for oth­ers. Heaven is a more car­ing place to­day.’

Gretta re­posed in Car­pen­ter’s Fu­neral Home, Bar­rack Street with prayers be­ing led by Fr Ruairi O’Domh­naill, Adm., Car­low. Fr Ruairi cel­e­brated Gretta’s fu­neral mass in the Cathe­dral of the As­sump­tion, as­sisted by Fr John Dun­phy, PP, Graiguecullen-Killeshin.

Read­ings, Prayers of the Faith­ful and bring­ing for­ward of the Of­fer­tory gifts were car­ried out by the var­i­ous gen­er­a­tions of the Lawlor fam­ily.

The singing of hymns at Mass was by Josie Kelly with Clare Cashin on key­board.

Fol­low­ing Mass, Gretta was laid to rest in St Mary’s ceme­tery, Car­low with Fr O’Domh­naill recit­ing the fi­nal prayers at the grave­side.

She is mourned by her hus­band Michael, sons Sean (River­side Close, Car­low), David (Dol­men Gar­dens, Hack­et­stown Road, Car­low), broth­ers Jim (Hull, York­shire), Ge­orge (Bed­ford, Eng­land), Michael (En­nis­cor­thy), sis­ter Breda Ke­hoe ( Water­ford), by her four grand­chil­dren, two great grand­chil­dren, her daugh­ters-in-law, brother-in-law Bren­dan, neph­ews, nieces, good neigh­bours and many friends.

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