There was a great outpouring of sadness recently as news circulated of the death of Helen Murphy from Longford town.
Better known as Nellie, she was a matriarchal figure in her beloved Annaly Park and her infectious personality and friendly disposition endeared her to all.
Nellie was born Helen Connolly in 1943. A war baby, she was one of Mary Joe and Bob Connolly’s three children. The Connolly family are steeped in old Longford and whilst times were tough and money was scarce, Nellie always fondly remembered her childhood days from St Michael’s Rd.
She worked for many years in Longford Weavers (now the new Dunnes Stores) and was the life and soul of the factory.
Nellie always sought to find the best in every situation and perhaps that’s what made her such a wonderful friend and confidante to so many of her good neighbours and friends.
She married her great love, Paudge Murphy, in 1967 and how the family were looking forward to celebrating their golden wedding anniversary next year.
The couple made a beautiful, loving and caring home for their children in Annaly Park. The front and back doors were always open and nobody ever needed an invitation to call into Murphys.
Nellie was the old school host and whatever the family had was there to be shared. Times weren’t easy but Nellie always stood true to her Christian upbringing and wherever and whenever possible, she went out of her way to help those less fortunate.
It’s a great disappointment for the family that Nellie and Paudge won’t get to enjoy their golden years together. They truly were a perfect match and perhaps that and the blessing of her children, grandchildren and recently born great-grandchild, was her reward for a lifetime of love and caring.
Nellie believed passionately in all her children and equally so all the other children in Annaly Park or the many others who were lucky enough to have encountered her over the years. Children always thought they could conquer Everest or run the fastest ever mile after a famed Nellie pep talk.
She lived for the simplest of pleasures. She loved a flutter and delighted in the occasional win and rarely missed her bingo dates. Despite the protestations of doctors and medics she loved her cigarettes and was also known to enjoy the occasional social vodka.
If Nellie was a wonderful mother, she was an exceptional grandmother and she was happiest when their Annaly Park home came alive again with the noise and excitement of her merry band of grandchildren. It was also a great source of comfort and happiness for the family that the wonderful woman got to meet her newly born great-grandchild, Ava Ellen Conroy, a few short days before her sad passing.
Nellie was a deeply religious woman and she never once questioned what had been a vicious strain of cancer. From her initial diagnosis in March 2014, Nellie was determined to live her life with the same optimistic outlook as always. Many would have called to see Nellie hoping to cheer her up, but almost always they would have come away inspired and uplifted themselves after time spent in the company of a special woman.
The passing of Nellie Murphy is truly the end of an era for Annaly Park and sees another of the ‘old stock’ take their place in heaven. For the family and friends left behind it is heartbreaking but they are comforted in the knowledge that Nellie is once again reunited with her beloved parents; brother, Eddie and infant son, Patrick.
Nellie Murphy passed away peacefully on Saturday, August 20, in the loving care of her heartbroken family. Her sad passing is deeply mourned by her devoted husband, Paudge; her heartbroken family, Madeline (Conroy), Mary (Devlin), Jennifer, Raymond and John; her sister Anna Sheridan; sisters-in-law Margaret and Mary; brother-in-law Micheál; sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, grandchildren, great-grandchild, nieces, nephews, relatives and friends. Her remains reposed at Glennon’s Funeral Home, Longford, before being brought to St Mel’s Cathedral for Mass of the Resurrection and interment afterwards in Ballymacormack cemetery.