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In memory of Joan McArdle

Funeral Joan McArdle b Medium Web view

Celebrant: Canon Powell

This passage which we have just heard continues by recording the reaction of the soldier who was standing by the cross. He praised God, we’re told, proclaiming that the one who died was certainly a person who was good and great. Today we have come to the Clare Chapel to pay our last respects to Joan. The Joan you have known especially in her final years of illness was certainly all that is good and great and didn’t get life easy. I do not have any doubt at all that her considerate and gentle presence will be sorely missed by all who knew her.

Our sympathies go in a special way to Tom, her loving husband. Her sisters Geraldine, Eileen and Christine, brothers Michael and Gary. Indeed in our sympathies today we give God thanks and praise for the goodness that he has revealed to us through Joan. Today we grieve, how could we not, we thank God that we had her so long. If our own mood today is one of grieving at the loss of someone whom we love, there is surely a level in our hearts where we are grateful to have known her, to have experienced her goodness in our lives. In our grief we give thanks to the Lord our God for all the many blessings which we have received through Joan.

Joan was born in Cranny Terrace, Bleary on 16th January 1955, and the second in a family of six children to Joe and Betty Toman.

She attended Lylo Primary School before progressing to St. Mary’s Secondary School in Lurgan. After leaving school, Joan worked in Saracens as an examiner.

In April 1975 her father, Joe Toman, was murdered in Bleary and this was, naturally, to have a devastating effect on the entire family.

Joan met Tom through his cousin, Eugene McCann, just before her father died and they were married on 17th June 1978. In 1988, due to ill heath possibly brought on by her father’s death, Joan paid her first visit to Lourdes. Thankfully, her health recovered and she became a great walker. Joan could often be seen around the parish, stepping it out with her rucksack on her back. She even trained in Portadown Rugby Club, so determined was she to keep fit.

Joan loved gardening and working with flowers – she was much better at flower arranging than she ever gave herself credit for. Travel also played a major part in Tom and Joan’s life and she had a particular fondness for the Canary Islands. London and Dublin were also favourites, probably because of the shopping! Shopping was one of Joan’s guilty pleasures!

A very sociable person, Joan was always smiling and upbeat. Tom and Joan had a great life together and next year, would have celebrated 40 years of marriage. In May 2016, Joan received the dreadful diagnosis that was to end her life so suddenly. But, like everything else in her life, Joan bore her illness quietly with great courage and inner strength. In May of this year, she once again travelled to Lourdes, with Tom, on the Diocesan Pilgrimage. She loved it so much she said she would be back again next year.

Her spirit was so strong that she went shopping again on Thursday evening to buy new bed linen!

Apart from Tom, she was mad about her beloved dog Judy – a constant friend and companion.
Joan’s deep faith was remarkable and her devotion to St. Martin unwavering. Herself and Tom recited the Novena Prayer together daily.

We remember a lovely person, a lady who was a treasure to you all. Letting go of her today is not going to be easy for Joan was a great lover of family, people and life itself. Today then we bid farewell to Joan. Despite your sense of loss, you will face the future with courage and hope, knowing that that is what Joan would want you to do. We comfort one another in the sure confidence that for Joan life has changed, not ended. We also derive comfort from the conviction that she is at peace with God after all her infirmity.

I know that Joan would want me to say thank you to all who have minded her and cared for her since her initial diagnosis, through to her leaving us on Saturday morning at home. Dear Joan,

Rest in Peace.

Amen.

 

 

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