There has been widespread sadness expressed following the death of Mrs. Kathleen McManus on February 13.

The late Kathleen McManus (nee Rogers) was born in December, 1933 in Gortnalee, near Belleek, Co. Fermanagh.

Terence Rogers, her father, worked the 30-acre cattle farm and her mother, Catherine (nee O’Brien), was a housewife.

Kathleen went to school at nearby Cornahilte school where it was important to memorise tracts of Irish poetry. At the age of nine, she was sent to St. Catherine’s school in Ballyshannon.

Aged 11, she became a boarder at Mount Lourdes Grammar School in Enniskillen, with bus travel home only available at the end of term.

At age 17, she went to St. Mary’s Teacher Training College in Belfast. She met her future husband, Denis McManus, through his sister, Bridie McManus (now Cassidy) from Derrygonnelly.

Kathleen and Denis married in Holy Cross Church, Lisnaskea, in April 1961.

Family was always very important to Kathleen and she had an especially close relationship with her sister, Sr. Bridie, a Mercy Sister, that lasted her whole life.

In early years, they went out together on Bridie’s motorbike. They became inseparable in later years as they went on many journeys together, both locally and overseas to visit family.

Kathleen came back home from Belfast to Lisnaskea, where her parents had moved. She started teaching at age 19 in 1953.

After working at the Convent Primary School Enniskillen, she got a job closer to home teaching mixed ages in the Old Moate school above the town.

She recalled that some of the boys were only a few years younger than her, and often taller than her.

They had to bring a lump of coal for the fire every day. She would walk up the steep Moate brae with Mrs. Mary Sweeney, who lived a few doors down on Main Street; Master O’Neill was the principal in school.

Then she taught in the old church in Maguiresbridge for around two years, before St. Ronan’s Primary School was built in 1968.

Kathleen started teaching P3 and then moved on to P2. One year, she had 52 children to teach in one classroom.

She was a very popular teacher, and her students remember her kindness and care, especially the end of term parties where the children could stand up and perform a party piece for their classmates.

Her favourite saying at that time was “never stop a child from singing"!

Many former students expressed condolences and their fond memories of a popular teacher after her death.

The family, who were living with her parents at Main Street, Lisnaskea, moved out to a farmstead, known as Carrick House (built in 1802) that Denis had bought at Carrickmacusker.

They initially lived in Carrick Gate House before moving up to the renovated farmhouse on the hill, many of the family providing the labour for the renovation.

Kathleen was a talented card player and often accompanied her husband Denis and son Donal to bridge competitions, winning an all-Ireland championship on one occasion.

When Denis died of a heart attack in 1981, Kathleen was left widowed at the age of 47 with a young family, all teenagers and younger. Her son, Donal, also died tragically in 2005.

Kathleen worked for 35 years before she retired from teaching at the age of 54. She was a very religious and devout woman; she prayed the Rosary and attended Mass regularly.

In recent years, she was an avid knitter, knitting many matching caps and scarves each week, many of which ended up in Eastern Europe and Botswana as charity donations.

In later years, Kathleen spent many happy years living in the Fold’s independent living, Lisnaskea, before moving to Millverne/Millcroft nursing home prior to her death.

She died on February 13, and is buried in Holy Cross cemetery Lisnaskea.

She is survived by her brother, Denis, in Canada, and five children: Brendan, Connie, Kieran, Breda and Terry.