Lives Remembered

Anna Cunning: A life lived in service of others


ANNA Cunning lived her life in the service of others.

Caring, loving, modest and self-effacing, she couldn’t do enough for people.

The fifth of six children in the Carey family, she lived all her life in Loughgiel and dedicated herself to her family.

She looked after her own parents for many years, nursing both until their deaths – her mother Mary Catherine in 1977, and her father James in 1984 – as well as her beloved husband Tommy in 1988.

Professionally, Anna worked in administration throughout her working life, first in the post office in Dunloy and then for two decades in the office in Loreto College, Coleraine, retiring in 1992 at the age of 60.

She was popular with all the pupils, staff and the Loreto sisters who were an integral part of school life; her office was a beacon for people of all ages. There was always a smile, a word of advice or a shoulder on which to cry.

Anna was a thoroughly good woman and though not blessed with children, mothered many around her.

She maintained a keen interest in particular in her 21 nieces and nephews.

Always there to provide practical help, transport, advice, laughter, love and a traybake when required, Anna was a second mother to all of us.

She was a woman of great faith and that sustained her during the difficult times of her life and was particularly evident during her husband’s and later her niece, Sinead’s, long illnesses.

When, in her final months, she had problems with her memory, she could still remember the prayers of her childhood days.

Her ability to answer mental arithmetic questions was also a throwback to work in the post office some 60 years earlier.

She loved nothing better than listening to music and would attempt to join in with familiar songs.

An extremely hard worker, Anna kept a beautiful cosy and welcoming home. She was diligent in the workplace and built strong and enduring friendships with her colleagues.

Given her empathy, her wisdom, and her discretion, it is hardly surprising that she became a confidante to many and there is no doubt that she took many confidences to her grave.

A woman of simple tastes and few ambitions, Anna was loved and respected by everyone who knew her.

Hers was, indeed, a life well lived.

Anna Cunning died peacefully on October 13 in Slemish Care home, Ballymena after a short illness. She was in her 91st year. She was buried in the graveyard of St Patrick’s Church, Loughgiel after Mass celebrated beautifully by Fr Con Óg Boyle and featuring hymns sung in Irish by her niece, Nóilín.

May she rest in peace.

Aideen Ahern



Lives Remembered