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In memory of Kathleen Campbell

Funeral Kathleen Campbell

Celebrant: Very Reverend Gerald Powell P.P.

A sad occasion like this today is an occasion to reminisce and to allow the mind to linger on moments from the past. Memories flood back of childhood experiences of being cared for, encouraged and loved.  For her family the first school you ever attended was on your mother’s lap. This is a time when gratitude for a loving mother wells up in your hearts for a “job well done”. It is a time of awakening to an appreciation of the gifts and blessings received. It is only in hindsight that the gift becomes clear. Life is lived going forwards but understood looking backwards.

The death of our mother brings a new kind of experience into our lives. To be without a mother is to be in a strange and lonely place. And that’s understandable. For our mother is really one’s first friend. One’s longest first friend! No friend we will ever meet on life’s journey will have been so interested or committed to us. No other friend will have known our first step or our first smile or our first tear. No other friend will know us through and through in such an intimate manner as to be called by our name – a name given in Baptism.  Kathleen made you and shaped you. She lived for you.

She is with you in the way you walk and talk, in the things you enjoy and the things you fear, in the things you’re good at and the things you couldn’t do well in a fit; she’s with you in the way you think, in the very way you blink your eyes or move your hands, your every tick and mannerism. She is a part of you and will always remain so.

Home we all know is where the heart is and today the heart is not at home. The heart has gone to a different place. For it is true that today home is joined to heaven in a more profound way. 

So we give thanks to God for her life and it is with confidence that we pray to the same God to give her eternal rest. 

Kathleen was born in Tullylish on 8th September 1929, the youngest of five children to James and Rose Campbell.

After leaving St. John’s Primary School in Gilford, Kathleen worked on the family farm. It was at a guest tea in Ballyvarley that she met Dan. The meeting must have gone well because he offered her a lift home on the bar of his bike.

They married on the 2nd March 1954 in St. John’s Church, Gilford and together they had nine children.

Kathleen was a typical Irish farmer’s wife- a hard worker who took all the major family decisions – inside and out! She was ambitious and the children’s education was very important to her.
They had a mixed farm with cattle, sheep, pigs and hens. Kathleen was often seen in Gilford delivering her basket of eggs to the local shops and, of course, the neighbours were able to enjoy the locally reared turkeys.

Holidays were a rare things for famer’s and their families, but every summer Kathleen packed all the family into the car, with Gladys Harrison, and they spent the day in Cranfield. One year they branched out and took a house in Newcastle for a week, with Dan coming up during the day. August 15th was always the day for Warrenpoint – very happy memories for all the children. Christmas time was always exciting as gifts were exchanged between the Campbells, McCartans, and the Tighes – the gifts were usually biscuits and cordials.

Kathleen cared for her late husband Dan for several years before his death on 2nd August 2000.

She was a very sociable person and loved a bit of craic. When she received her bus pass, it was a case of –‘have bus pass – will travel’ and she and her friends took to the roads! She enjoyed life to the full – playing cards, attending whist drives, loved a game of bingo, took up painting in later life, creative knitting and travelling. Thanks to her globe trotting family, Kathleen also became a globe trotter – visiting London, San Francisco, New York, Italy, Spain, Greece, Hong Kong and Australia. When she flew to Australia to visit her brother Paddy, her sister Mary and Eamon McCartan accompanied her. On the flight, she said to ‘Big Eamon’, your mother can do the praying and we’ll do the drinking!’

It was on Pancake Tuesday last week, she enquired if Rosemary had made the pancakes. She recalled that in days gone by, she made loads of pancakes and then had a ‘whist party’ in the evening while everyone enjoyed the pancakes!

Kathleen welcomed all her 20 grandchildren into the home, whether it was from Banbridge Hospital, Craigavon Hospital or Dublin airport.

Kathleen attended Mass in Gilford - her faith was strong and she had a tremendous devotion to Our Lady.

She became slightly incapacitated 10 years ago after a stroke and then deteriorated more over the last 3 years. It was at 9.00pm on Sunday evening that she passed away peacefully surrounded by her family.

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

I extend our sympathy today to her loving family, her children Rosemary, Seamus, Teresa, Eugene, Margaret, Don, Patrick, Philip and Kathy; her sister Mary, brother Patrick, sons and daughters in law, grandchildren, and brother in law Malachy and the entire family circle.




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