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Mass of Remembrance to be held for Laois woman who passed away in England

Marie Pestel (right) (née McEvoy) with her sisters Phil Fallon (left) and Carmel (centre)

A Mass of Remembrance will be held in honour of a Laois woman who passed away in England at the end of last year.

Marie Pestel (née McEvoy) passed away on December 23 2019 and was laid to rest in St Alphege’s Church, Bath, on Friday January 17.

A Mass of Remembrance for her will take place in St Brigid’s Church, Rosenallis, on Sunday, February 2, at 11am.

At her funeral mass, her son Jason gave a wonderful eulogy about his mam.

And with Marie’s family’s permission, we have reproduced that in full below:

A few years ago mum took a Virgin flight to New York to meet up with her sister Phil, and some friends. I was nervous for her. It was her first time in New York. On her own at the airport, the place is like a maze to try and figure out how you get to where you want to go. So I told her, spend $50 and get a taxi directly to the hotel.

Mum didn’t just hate wasting money, she was an adventurer at heart. She hunted down a local bus at the airport and with the help of the driver, navigated her way through the concrete jungle of the city.

She was later found, striding confidently down 42nd Street in Manhattan on the way to her hotel to meet up with Phil and the others. She had made it on her own, and she loved every minute. She also saved $50 in the process

She was tough, determined and brave. She was strong and never once gave up on us. She was always fiercely loyal, cared passionately and loved us dearly. She was my mum.

Her life

Mum was born in Shamrock House, Clonaheen, Rosenallis, in Ireland back in September 1946. She spent her early years on the family farm in Clonaheen. Mum was the second eldest and had 7 brothers and 2 sisters, all of whom she loved very much.

At the tender age of 17, she moved to the UK with her younger sister Carmel, and they stayed with Uncle John Joe (McEvoy) and Aunt Nancy. Mum soon started to put down roots and began her nursing career as a care assistant at St Catherine’s nursing home in Bath, before continuing her training at St Martin’s hospital.

As a nurse, mum excelled at what she did best – caring for others. She did so with a passion, love and with exceptional tenderness. Qualities that she possessed and displayed throughout the whole of her life.

She met my dad (Roger) outside a chip shop back in 1964. He was stood by a car, and she walked out with a bag of chips in her hand when they started to exchange a bit of friendly banter.

By coincidence, they bumped into each other again the following evening, and well, the rest is history. They married in October 1966 and last year was their 53rd wedding anniversary. Mum adored dad, and dad adored mum, and their 53 years together is a testament to their love.

Mum had 5 children; the eldest being Dean, then myself (Jason), then Darren, and then, yes, finally a girl! (Jo) before last but certainly not least, in 1986 Nick arrived. Her love and total devotion to her family was unparalleled, it touched us all deeply, and was always visible for everyone to see.

Mum loved so many things:

She adored her family in Ireland and was incredibly close to all her brothers and sisters. When I was young, we used to visit the farm in Ireland every year, and in later years she’d never hesitate to return again whenever an opportunity arose.

She loved the church, and her faith in God was pure and resolute throughout her whole life, and never wavered. For many years she played an active role here at St Alphege’s and was a much-loved character within the church community.

Ultimately though, she loved her life. She was an adventurer at heart, and was never afraid of putting one step forward. I loved this sense of adventure, and it has always inspired me to be the same, and for which I hold so many memories.

I always remember her escaping the winter with long holidays to Gran Canaria with Dad and Darren. She loved her early morning walks in the sunshine with dad before spending the afternoons with Darren chatting the ‘world away’.

I remember the time when she took Dean to Blackpool when we were young. They had such an unforgettable time at the top of a swaying Blackpool Tower, trying to catch the views in the gusting wind.

Only last year she flew to Fargo in the US to visit Nick, his wife Jessie, and her grandson Oliver. I remember her face lighting up as she met Oliver in person for the very first time.

She had many special times with my sister Jo. An evening walk along the promenade at Weston Super Mare comes to mind was a special moment, where the two of them would talk and then gaze and listen to the sea.

I would also like to mention Dean’s wife Dawn, whom mum treated and loved like her own daughter. A trip to Majorca comes to mind where her grandchildren Anthony and Gemma paid mum an ‘unexpected’ visit. Mum’s face at the surprise was one of pure delight and one that I’m sure Dawn, and the whole family, will always cherish.

But I’m sure that all of us here hold many special moments and memories of the time they spent with mum and these are only just a few of far too many to mention.

In all, Mum loved her life … and she was devoted to us all. To me though … she wasn’t just my mum … she was also my best friend. She was my go to … my confidant … my rock …

When things went well
She stood beside me with pride
When things fell apart
She’d support me whilst I cried.

She’d tell me what’s what
She wouldn’t mess about.
Her wit, dryness and humour
And then maybe a clout!

You guided me through so many of life’s challenges
And always kept me on track.
I am the person I am because of you
The love, the strength…to name just a few

And that is a fact.
She is loved by so many
And will always live on in our hearts.
My mother, my angel
We will never be apart.

Jason Pestel

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