PEGGY Morris (née Nealon), who died peacefully on Monday 17 August at the age of 93, was born on 23 January 1927 in Middlefield, Kildimo, Co Limerick. She was the second-eldest of nine children born to Edward Nealon and his wife Kathleen (née Shaughnessy). She had many happy memories of her childhood growing up on the farm.
Having attended Kildimo National School, she received her secondary education with the Presentation Sisters in Mountmellick, Co Laois. On leaving Mountmellick, she went to UCD, but having completed first year she was offered a position in the Civil Service, which she took. She spent a number of very happy years working in the Department of Education and during this time she completed her studies attending night classes in UCD, where she met her future husband Jim Morris.
Jim and Peggy married in 1952 and she came to live in Ballon, where Jim, a Ballon native, had been appointed principal of the local national school. She lived for the next 40 years in Ballon, where she made many lasting friendships, before moving to Heatherfield Court, Carlow in 1992.
Peggy spent the first years of her life in Ballon taking care of their seven children and looking after everything in the house. And at this stage, her creative talent found an outlet in the many dresses, coats and jumpers she made and knitted for the family, which she enjoyed doing. She also loved her garden and it was always full of colour.
Peggy began her teaching career when her youngest child was three. She taught in FCJ Convent, Bunclody for a short while and then began her work with Carlow VEC, beginning in Borris Vocational School before moving to Tullow VS and subsequently to the community school when it opened. She loved her work and she had a great love of language, both Irish and English. Working outside of the home was a great new experience for her. She had wonderful colleagues and made many new friends during her years in Tullow.
As the family got older, Peggy got more involved in local activities. She joined the ICA in Tullow at first, but in 1976 she became a founder member of Ballon ICA, where she was actively involved for many years. She was also involved with the ICA at federation and national level and spent many happy times doing various courses in An Grianán.
She loved singing and at various stages sang with Tullow Choir, Carlow Cathedral Choir, the ICA Choir and Carlow Choral Society, with all of whom she enjoyed many trips to various performances.
She took up painting. This was one of her favourite pastimes and helped her greatly following the sudden death of Jim in 1982. She also loved reading, especially poetry, and she could still remember her favourite lines even in her last weeks. She liked to walk, played golf and learned to swim. Following her move to Carlow, she attended water aerobics with her friends at the Seven Oaks Hotel and enjoyed the tea and scone and the chat afterwards.
She loved to travel and went on many great holidays with her active retirement friends in Carlow and also with the late Sr Mercedes holiday group in Tullow. In more recent years she loved nothing better than to head off for a drive through the local countryside, up to the Nine Stones or out to Altamont, two of her favourite spots.
She was a woman of deep faith and had a great devotion to the Rosary. She was a regular Mass-goer when she lived in Ballon and in the Cathedral Parish, where she served both as a reader and as a Eucharistic minister.
She took great pride and interest in her 19 grandchildren and her six great-grandchildren and she followed all of their various adventures as they progressed through life.
Peggy had many great qualities: her positive outlook on life, her ability to always see the bright side of things and just get on with it, her friendliness and kindness to others, her creativity and her work ethic are all part of the person she was. In recent months, when life was challenging, she always had a smile on her face and never complained. She showed great resilience and a wonderful spirit throughout her long life.
For the past three years, Peggy was resident in Borris Lodge Nursing Home, where she enjoyed all the activities that go on there – singing and music led by Jackie and John and other musicians, painting classes organised by Courtney, and all the parties at which she loved to sing – Danny Boy and The Hills of Donegal being two of her favourites.
The family thank all those who cared for Peggy in recent years, especially Ann and Hazel, Maria, Trish and Teresa, those who looked after her when she attended St Fiacc’s House, Dr John Conway and all her great neighbours and friends in Heatherfield Court.
Heartfelt thanks to Helen and Jimmy and all their wonderful, kind staff in Borris Lodge for the great care and attention they gave to Peggy during her time in Borris. Thanks also to Dr Michael Byrne, who looked after her there.
Peggy was laid to rest in Ballon on Wednesday 19 August following Mass in St Peter and Paul’s Church, Ballon. Mementos of her life were introduced by her granddaughter Eva and were brought to the altar by great-grandchildren Conor and Ellyn. The readings were read by her sons Kieran and Paul. Prayers of the Faithful were recited by her grandchildren Lynda, Paula, Rachel, Sarah, Jim and Colin. The Offertory gifts were presented by her grandchildren Peter, Eoin and Michelle and by her great-grandchild Chloe. Organist and soloist Rose Whelan provided the music and her grandchildren Niamh and Emer played an accompaniment at Communion time. Peggy’s daughter Anne spoke about her mother and thanked all who had been part of Peggy’s life over the years.
Peggy is survived by her sons Eamon (Canada), Kieran (Carlow) and Paul (Abbeyfeale), daughters Anne Hughes (Carlow), Bernadette Revesz (Chicago), Deirdre Nolan (Ballon) and Fidelma Morris (Carlow) and by her sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, brother Stephen, brother-in-law, sisters-in-law, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nephews, nieces, relatives and friends.