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In memory of Clare Campbell

Funeral Clare Campbell Medium Web view

Celebrant: Canon Powell 

There’s a song that Tommy Makem used to sing called “the Parting glass”. It’s about a man who at the end of his days sits beside the road and weeps for all the songs he didn’t sing and the promises he didn’t keep. Life is about songs and promises, those we sing and didn’t sing, those we keep and don’t keep. And out of the songs and promises of life we quarry our own unique existence in this world.

Today we thank God for the songs and promises that have gone to make up the long life of Clare Campbell.

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. 

 Clare Sarah Turley was born in 1931 at Dechomet, Ballyward
- Sixth child to Mary and Patrick Turley
- one of 9 children, 5 boys and 4 girls ( Paddy, Jim, Tisha, Micky, Rita, Clare, Dympna, Frank and Eddie)

Clare met Brendan at a wedding over 60 years ago, she had told the bride she would only attend the wedding if she found her a man and as they say the rest is history.

Clare married Brendan Campbell in 1952 and moved to Banbridge where Brendan had the Handy Stores and the horses. They had 9 children (Mary, George, Valerie, Barbara, Sheena (deceased), Jacqueline, Edith, Brendan and Steven) and 21 grandchildren. Brendan retired in 1994 and they moved to Laurencetown. Clare was a devoted wife, mother and grandmother and avidly attended both mass and her various classes in the parish.

The death of our mother brings a new kind of experience into our lives. Clare 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. 

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 Clare was a great lover of family, people and life itself. Today then we bid farewell to Clare. 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 Clare life has changed, not ended. We also derive comfort from the conviction that she is at peace with God after all her infirmity.

Today we extend our sympathy to the family Mary, George, Valerie, Barbara, and Jacqueline, Edith, Brendan and Steven, brother Frank, sisters Rita and Dympna, sons in law and daughters in law, grandchildren and the entire family circle. May her gentle soul rest in peace. Amen. 

Eugology delivered by Clare's daughter, Mary

Mum was born 85 years ago at Dechomet, Ballyward, daughter of Patrick and Mary Turley and sister to Paddy, Jim, Tisha, Mickey, Rita, Dympna, Frank and Eddie. They were a very close knit family

Invited to a wedding over 65 years ago, she told the bride she would only attend if she found her a man, whereupon she met Brendan and as they say the rest is history.

Brendan and Clare after their wedding in 1952 moved to 73 Newry Street Banbridge where Dad ran the family business of the Handy stores and Bus bar. Mum had told Dad that she wanted to do nursing and he assured her that she could do that after they got married. I think there was a degree of misunderstanding, as she afterwards said, 6 daughters and 3 sons was not the type of nursing she had meant.

We all have different recollections of our childhood, being the eldest, mine was of her skill as a dressmaker, though I didn’t appreciate it at the time, especially when  she made us matching outfits and herself a dress in the same material and then we were paraded to the front of the chapel for Sunday mass.

Not only was she a housewife and mother but when Dad was ill for several months she very capably took up the reins and ran the shop herself. Living up to two of her mottos-“knuckle down and get on with it” and “No-one ever said life was going to be fair” , she coped successfully with the bookwork, accounts, ordering stock and staff matters .

Mum was generous to a fault, if you admired something of hers it was quickly offered to you. She supported various charities. Her kind nature meant that she only saw the best in someone, another of her phrases being if you can’t say anything good about them then don’t say anything at all. When we would ask “which of us do you love the most” she very wisely would reply “whoever at the time needs it most”.

73 Newry St was an open house; all our friends visited and many called her mammy Clare. There was always a cup of tea and a sandwich but if you were a new boyfriend then it was accompanied by the 20 questions. She was never sure how many people would be sleeping on the living room floor in the morning especially at weekends.

After having 8 children in 12 years, she had more time for herself in the ensuing 11 years. She loved horse riding on her grey horse Prince. However that passion didn’t stop her being sick with nerves before each hunt. She went to yoga and keep- fit but whilst attending Unislim couldn’t understand why she was gaining weight despite the initial loss. However the reason became clear-it was Steven who was born when she was 45.

Her beloved daughter Sheena died in 1993 and she immersed herself in various education classes. She won an award for lifelong learning and was the longest attending pupil at Banbridge Tech.  Classes included computer skills, photography, assertiveness skills, flower arranging, furniture restoring and upholstery. At one stage she attended 14 classes a week, we used to joke that an appointment was needed to see her. Every Tuesday was ostensibly her sewing class with her sisters and sister in laws but we never saw much in the way of results. I understand they had great craic with laughter and fun instead.

When Dad retired they moved to Laurencetown in 1994. She was in her element-she now had a garden where she spent many happy hours. She still regularly attended Mass, went swimming several times a week, joined the W.I and the ladies discussion group , attended Art classes, card making and jewellery classes and of course Pottery lessons given by her granddaughter Ciara.

She was very keen and interested in our and later her 21 grandchildren’s education and achievements. Every newspaper article mentioning us was cut out and kept. Her grandchildren adored her. Sundays and Christmas day were spent at Granny Clare’s. She was very supportive even attending her grandsons Jordan and Shea’s first gig in the Imperial Hotel listening to their heavy metal music which she said was “different”

Dad became her carer after her stroke for 18 months until his death 4 years ago. They would go out for meals, long drives, and she still went to jewellery and pottery classes and swimming. She was last in the pool about 3 years ago and at pottery 2 years ago.

With her increasing immobility and poor memory she moved to Iveagh nursing home. Despite her memory loss mum still remembered her family circle’s names. She retained her ability to keep a secret-when discussing Steven’s announcement that he was going to be a father; she informed me he had already told her in confidence several weeks previously .She never complained other than saying “never get old” with a wry smile, was always smiling and still retained her quick wit and wisecracks.

We will all miss her greatly.

I’d like to leave you with mum’s favourite poem

They were exiles all gathered together from different parts of the earth.

And each one told of some favourite ruler from the land that gave him birth.

Said Pierre of France, “Now here is a picture of the queen of my land;

Note the exquisite beauty of Marie Antoinette and the beautiful, well-formed hand.”

“Aye! Beauty is little,” the Scotsman cried, “It will not save from the hangman’s knot.

Just look at this face where goodness is seen,  ’Tis Mary, queen of the Scots.”

The Englishman smiled and quietly said, “I too, have a picture to show;

’Tis the noble face of Victoria the Great, The Queen of the high and the low.”

But McCormick was the only one there who came from the land of the Green.

“Now boys,” said he, “I’d like ye to see the face of Ireland’s queen.”

“She is noble and good, gentle and true, this queen of the dear old sod.”

And he drew from his bosom the beautiful face Of Mary, the Mother of God!





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