A 97-YEAR-OLD who defeated Covid-19 before Christmas has been laid to rest in her beloved Cashel.
Margaret McManus (nee Keown) died of natural causes on Monday, February 8. Her nephew, Patsy Keown, paid tribute to his aunt who he described as “the life and soul of the community”.
He continued: “Margaret loved talking to people. She was the most outgoing person – if there was someone sitting in the corner, she would make it her business to go and talk to them.”
When asked what he will remember most about his aunt, Patsy said: “She was just the most interesting person, and took interest in every person from the oldest person to the youngest person. She was always interested in what was going on.
“She knew everything about her relations, and expected them to call if they went past her house – and if you did not call, she’d let you know! She was no-one’s fool; she was her own woman.”
Even in her final days, Margaret was enquiring for all of her family. Patsy added: “We were talking on Sunday evening, and she asked for all the relations and asked for everybody. Every time she finished her phone calls at night, she left with her wee saying, ‘I love you to the moon and back’, and they were her final words to me.”
Born in 1923, Margaret grew up in the rural community as one of the Keown family, with a large family of brothers and sisters: Jim, Tommy, Andy, Pat, Mary-Ann, Rosaleen and Teresa.
Patsy added: “After she finished her schooling in Cashel, Margaret worked on the family farm. She then took herself off to Belfast and later London to work in hotels; she later worked in a factory canteen in London.”
Margaret married John McManus, from Clones, in 1962. Tragically, he died in 1969 after suffering a major heart attack.
Margaret never remarried, but continued to live in London, frequently visiting her homestead a few times a year.
She loved all of her nieces and nephews, and Patsy laughed as he recalled: “Every year she would come home. Without fail over the years, she knitted us Aran jumpers and things like that. Everyone got their own jumper knitted at some point in their life!”
Faith was a huge part of Margaret’s life, Patsy explained. “She was big into the chapel; she went to the Holy Land, and she went to Lourdes and actually helped out at Lourdes.”
Margaret was active in the community in Cashel when she moved back to Fermanagh in 1990. She was a member of the Cashel Mummers, the Heather group, and the women’s association.
Patsy added that when Margaret returned to Fermanagh, “her brother took ill and he died in 2002". He continued: "She cared for him; she had a couple of years doing her own thing, and then her sister was ill and Margaret cared for her. She was very caring, the whole time.”
Margaret was buried at St. Joseph’s Church, Cashel. She is survived by her sisters, Rosaleen and Teresa, and her wide family circle. Funeral arrangements were carried out by Peter Carty Funeral Directors.