Mary McCann: A life of generosity and love of family
WARM, good-humoured and generous, Mary McCann's 57 years were defined by love of family and appreciation of the things that truly matter in life.
Raised in the south Armagh townland of Carricknagavna, on the outskirts of Mullaghbawn, Mary was the youngest daughter of Packie and May McCann’s six children.
After attending school in Crossmaglen, she enrolled at catering college in Portrush before moving to London.
There she joined Sean, also a native of Mullaghbawn, with whom she would spend almost 40 years of her life, 25 of those as husband and wife.
During a decade together in London, Mary ran a successful cafe and worked as a clerk in a health centre in Crouch End. Popular amongst her colleagues, she embraced her role coordinating office activities and organising social events, developing friendships which endured long after she came home to Ireland.
Mary and Sean married in 1995 in St Augustine’s Church in Tottenham. They then returned to Mullaghbawn where they would raise a family, build a home and start their first business in construction.
A devoted mother, Mary provided her three daughters, Lisa, Ellen and Rachel, with endless opportunities to pursue their education and hobbies, while also keeping the business accounts in check.
The backbone of the family, nothing was ever too much trouble for her. Her sensibility, compassionate nature and ability to get things done meant she was always someone people turned to for help.
In later years, when Sean and Mary opened Slieveview Furniture, her sincerity and the ease with which she could strike up a conversation ensured people repeatedly visited from across the country.
It was she who coined the name, given the scenic views of Slieve Gullion which the family admired from their home. She was also instrumental in launching a second store, Collon Interiors, in Co Louth and ensuring its commitment to supporting local craftsmen.
During this time, Mary also delighted in supporting her daughters through university, travelling to visit them abroad, as well as spending hours tending to her beautiful garden.
Active in her parish, she volunteered as a liturgical reader and cherished time spent with her mother.
As someone who loved the outdoors, she could regularly be found out walking, basking in the beauty of the Ring of Gullion and the calmness of Gyles Quay in particular.
Mary shared a close bond with her parents and siblings throughout her life. They were a source of constant support, sharing in life's joys, trials and the simple, everyday moments they enjoyed having settled within a short distance of one another.
Adored by her nieces and nephews, her advice and guidance were trusted and she could always be found at the heart of family gatherings.
Mary’s first thoughts were of her family and she pulled strength from these relationships and her faith, bearing her cancer diagnosis with resilience and a determination to make the most out of each day.
Ever the organiser and true to her selfless nature and belief that she would be reunited with her father and sister, she fittingly chose Sissy's Song, by Alan Jackson, to play as she left the chapel one last time, the chorus of which ends: “I know she’s smilin’, sayin’ don't worry 'bout me”.
Mary passed away peacefully on May 23 2021 in St John's Hospice, Newry. Predeceased by her father Packie and sister Rosaleen, she is deeply missed by all those who loved her.