Tributes have been paid to a former Laois primary school teacher who passed away suddenly over Christmas.
Helen Whelehan, from Ballycarroll, Portarlington, was a teacher in the Presentation Primary School for almost 40 years.
Mrs Whelehan, who was originally from Dingle, retired 16 years ago and enjoyed her retirement by travelling, playing golf and bridge.
Speaking at her funeral mass on New Year’s Day in Killenard, parish priest Fr Tom Dooley paid tribute to Helen for the remarkable impact she made on the lives of so many people.
Fr Dooley said: “Helen came to the parish of Portarlington from her beloved Dingle as a young primary school teacher and for just 40 years, she taught in the in the Presentation girls school in Portarlington.
“Over those years, he life touched the lives of every family in the community.
“She brought a great sense of vocation into her work. While her primary role was in teaching, Helen was deeply involved in the sporting, cultural, music and faith life of the school and the community.
“For those gifts and talents, which she shared so readily, we are grateful today.
“All her life, she mainly taught the infant classes and had a great influence on the children in their early formative years.
“Helen retired 16 years ago and was able to do many of the things that she enjoyed doing.
“She loved to travel, play golf, play bridge and enjoy nature all around her.
“Just before Christmas, Helen had a knee operation and was looking forward to doing all of those things once again.
“However, it was not meant to be. May She Rest in Peace.”
Predeceased by her husband Michael, Helen will be sadly missed by her loving family, daughter Sinead, sons John and James, daughter-in-law Caroline, son-in-law Graham, grandchildren Dylan, Ryan, Aoife, Saoirse and Michael, her brother Seamus, her brother-in -law Eddie, nieces, nephews, neighbours and a large circle of friends.
Portarlington Golf Club, of which Helen was a member, also paid tribute to her.
They said: “The Club Officers, Council members, Ladies Officers, Committees and Members of Portarlington Golf Club sorrowfully regret the death of our member Helen Whelehan (nee Kennedy) loving mother to Sinead, John and James we extend our sincere sympathy to her family for their sad loss.”
May Helen Rest in Peace.