Renee Maguire: Derrygonnelly bridge player never had bad word to say about anyone
THE death of Renee Maguire has deprived her family, Derrygonnelly and the wider community in Fermanagh of a very special lady.
Renee was a well-known figure in the village and county, especially through her passion for bridge, at which she excelled for nearly 50 years.
She had a unique ability to get along with people from all walks of life, helped by the fact that she never had a bad word to say about anyone.
Friends and neighbours bore testimony to the many simple acts of kindness she undertook in her own quiet way.
And her charitable nature was repaid by the local community who supported and cared for her as she continued to live a full and active life following the death of her beloved husband Cathal in 2003.
She was born Agnes Farrell in Enniskillen in 1932, the third in a family of six growing up at Whaley Terrace, but got the name Renee from other children after a circus performer of that name visited the town.
After leaving Mount Lourdes Grammar School her first job was in the old Lipton's store, followed by an apprenticeship at the drapery store of the late Gordon Wilson.
Always stylishly and elegantly dressed, it was there that she developed a keen eye for both fashion and finance.
Her steady income was a welcome bonus to the family in the lean post-war years and she led an active social life like any young woman of her age.
Renee was a keen dancer and it was at a local dance that she met a newly-qualified young veterinary surgeon, Cathal Maguire. They were married in 1955 and moved to Derrygonnelly to build a home, Knockmore House.
Over the next 40 years Renee helped Cathal build a successful veterinary practice while balancing a busy family life as a mother to four daughters, Mary, Gabrielle, Deirdre and Jacqueline.
Her skills in bakery and embroidery were put to good use and she also found time to pursue an interest in gardening, taking great pride in growing roses and other flowers.
It was fitting that she was able to attend Rose Week at Lady Dixon Park in Belfast just a couple of days before she passed away.
But Renee's overwhelming passion was for cards.
She was a lifelong member of Derrygonnelly Bridge Club, with whom she travelled the length and breadth of the country, making many friends.
She was a highly regarded player, winning many competitions in her time, and was playing bridge the night before her sudden death.
As a lady who enjoyed the sun, Renee had been in her element this year. She was never happier than on day trips to Bundoran eating ice cream and gazing out over the Atlantic, forever young at the seaside.
She was also a woman of deep faith, who had remarked in recent times that although she enjoyed life she was not afraid of death.
When the Lord called her home on July 19 she left behind not just a grieving family and a shocked community but also a lifetime of wonderful memories and a lasting legacy of love and affection.
Renee Maguire was laid to rest after Requiem Mass at a packed St Patrick's Church, Derrygonnelly on a sunny Sunday afternoon.
She will be sadly missed by her daughters, their spouses, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and sisters Mary Sandby-Thomas and Pauline McCusker.