Lives Remembered

Angela McConnell: Instinct to help others seeped through Co Tyrone woman's life

Angela McConnell's instinct was always to help others

EVEN in the depths of terminal illness, Angela McConnell’s instinct was to help others.

It was an instinct that took the Strabane woman from a career nursing the terminally ill, to teaching the young people of her home town, to managing a campus of the North West Regional College.

At her Requiem Mass at the Sacred Heart Church in Strabane, that love of others seeped through Angela’s own words.

In her eulogy, close friend Samantha Traynor recalled a conversation they had last year, when Angela spoke of her determination to remain strong despite the anguish she felt before undergoing surgery.

That need to help ran through every part of her life. After leaving school, Angela trained as a nurse. In a poignant irony, she cared for the terminally ill as a Marie Curie nurse.

The instinct was there at the end as Angela urged Samantha to contribute to her 'sleeping bag appeal' for Strabane’s homeless.

It was also there in her commitment to serve, as a governor of Knockavoe school, and even in her own funeral arrangements, her final effort to ease her family’s pain.

Her keen intellect – as well as her inner determination – led to her taking on a new career as a college lecturer, nurturing the next generation.

Her inherent leadership qualities and ability to inspire were recognised and she became manager at the Strabane campus of North West Regional College.

In 2015, she won the “Manager of the Year Award” at the Strabane Chamber of Commerce business awards.

Away from work, Angela had that special ability to light up a room. Her friendship was valued, something to be cherished. In the days after her passing, 'wonderful', 'bubbly', 'happy', 'positive' and 'amazing' were just some of the words used to describe her.

There was also a very deep side to Angela. She was as a strong woman whose strength grew from her faith and her special devotion to Our Lady. In her final weeks, she felt the love of God and Our lady envelop her and hold her close.

Above everything, family was everything to Angela. Not just her husband John and children Barry, Mark and Rachel but her mum Teresa Logue and siblings Terence, Gabrielle, Aidan and Paula, as well as her late dad Terry and late brothers Liam and Raymond.

In her eulogy, Samantha said: “Family meant the whole world to her. I know that because she talked continuously about them and I also know that Angela meant the whole world to her family too.”

Angela died following a courageous struggle against illness on August 22.

Her month’s mind Mass will take place at the Sacred Heart Church, Derry Road, Strabane at 11.30am on Sunday September 22.

Seamus McKinney

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Lives Remembered