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In memory of Joannie Duffy

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Funeral of Joannie Duffy

27th April 2014

 Celebrant: Very Reverned Gerry Powell P.P.

We gather here today in sadness with the family of Joannie Duffy. Our thoughts are for you. We ask God to send his Consoler to bring his peace to your hearts and to your homes. We give thanks to God for the life that he gave Joannie and pray in faith that he will welcome her home to everlasting happiness in heaven.

Holding a bedside vigil for Joannie, you her family have shared memories of who she was and what she meant to you. We mourn her passing, we cherish her memory. Above all you have remembered the humanity of a very good person. Today as we gather in sorrow to remember Joanie. A burden of pain, burden of loss, burden of grief weighs heavily on you all. We gather as a community - our presence here today is our way of reaching out to the family. Celebrant: Very Reverend Gerry Powell P.P.

Born on 27th October 1937, Joannie was baptised as Dinah Josephine and quickly became ‘Joannie’ to family and friends alike. She was born in Castle Hill, Gilford where she lived for 14 years before the family moved to Whinney Hill.

Her first job was in Gilford Mill where she worked for a year and then moved to work in Wades Potteries, Portadown. She earned £2.50 a week and extra money came throughout the years via Moy Park and Good Year.

As a young girl, she met her husband-to-be, Sean Duffy at the old Bosco Club in Laurencetown and that began a life-long friendship. They married in 1957 and first lived in Purple Hill, Gilford, then Poyntzpass, Reid’s Hill in Laurencetown, Barrack Hill and Miller Park, The first 5 children, Bronagh, Miriam, Sr. Bernadette, Mark and Sean were born before the family moved to Gilford in 1978. After Joannie’s father died, she felt a deep desire to move back to Gilford to be close to her mum. It was during that year that Anne was born. Anne and Joannie took great pride in being the only ‘Gilford girls’ in the family. On many an occasion when they were outnumbered, you could hear them saying: “Those auld Laurencetown ones are so thick when together…”!

Joannie was a woman who held others close to her heart, which was reflected in her real community spirit and she used any occasion to built peace and unity among people. Being the mother of a very sporting family, Joannie was part of the parent body who ‘ran the fields’ after youngsters who ran cross-country each week. She enjoyed the Irish dancing, cheered the boys as they boxed at Hallsmill and engaged in many Sales of Work for charity. She cladded the children who proudly ran in the local red and white coloured tracksuits and monkey caps for Bann Valley.

Joannie loved to sing in the choir and enjoyed her country and western music – she could bellow any song alongside BIG TOM!

A heart for anyone in need and reaching out to them was 1st priority. Joannie never wanted to make distinctions among people – justice and fairness were qualities she treasured.

She had a great eye for charity shops and when the idea for car boot sales was introduced as a way of buying and selling, she visited the first one with Jim and that was the beginning of a new passion! Saturday mornings, come rain, hail, sleet or snow, up she was! Finding treasures and repairing them brought her much joy. Over the past year, when Joannie was ill and seemed so tired, Sean would joke “Joannie, I’ll phone up the car boot sale people and tell them to postpone it today because you can’t come!” Last Saturday she said: What time will I set the clock for? And even if Sean said ‘Seven’s time enough”, she would say, “Six is better. I don’t want to be going late because the best things are out in the mornings!”

She got to know so many people and made so many friends and she lived her passion to the end - her last sale was last Saturday in Dungannon.

Another passion of her was painting where she was able to give expression to her inner beauty and creativity.

She kept a journal of all the events and activities of her family and these will live on as memoires of the family’s love for her.

Joannie visited South Africa three times where she met a lot of friends of Sr. Bernadette. Her visits were both as a tourist and photographer but more importantly, it was to reach into the hearts and minds of an underprivileged people who, for years, she supported financially and offered her prayers for them. The family have received so many messages from her new friends in South Africa.

Joannie was a lady who didn’t like the limelight – quiet, gentle, often unseen and always prepared to work in the background, but with her special smile, she would light up any room with her presence.

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 Joannie was a great lover of family, people and life itself. Thank you to all who cared for her and loved her in life. Now her suffering is over. As Joannie has died now a part of you dies as well. You are filled with sorrow because her death leaves a gap that no-one else can fill adequately. We pray that she is with the Lord and we look forward to the day when we will be reunited with her. Christ’s resurrection assures us that if we follow him we will rise again. Living a truly Catholic life is about waiting in hope and as people of hope we believe in the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Joannie’s period of waiting is now over.

She brought love, care and friendship to those who knew her. Always faithful to her Church, prayer and fidelity to the mass and the sacraments were second nature to her. She died after her strength could no longer meet the challenge of life. Today then we bid farewell to Joannie. Despite your sense of loss, you will face the future with courage and hope, knowing that that is what Joannie would want you to do. We comfort one another in the sure confidence that for her life has changed, not ended. We also derive comfort from the conviction that she is at peace with God after her time of suffering.

I would like to extend our sincere sympathy to Sean, daughters Bronagh, Miriam, Sr. Bernadette and Anne, sons Mark and Sean, sons and daughters in law, grandchildren, great grandchildren, brothers and sister, and family circle.




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