Together forever: Double funeral of Limerick couple who died two days apart

Kay passes away two days after Con

Donal O'Regan

Reporter:

Donal O'Regan

Together forever: Double funeral of Limerick couple who died two days apart

Soulmates: The late Con and Kay O’Driscoll

AFTER a lifetime spent together, not even death could keep Con and Kay O’Driscoll apart.

Kay, heartbroken after the loss of her husband, died just two days later. A rare double funeral Mass was held in Doon last Thursday week. Afterwards they were buried in the same grave.

Con, aged 90, died peacefully on Monday, January 2. 

Martin, one of their six children, said Kay, 91, was very upset at his passing.

“We knew that she was going to go shortly. It was very obvious her heart was broken. Her wish was that they would go together in death and, indeed, her wishes were granted by God,” said Martin.

Those two days apart from each other were the only ones in 62 years of marriage. They were well met – Con was a veterinary surgeon and Kay a pharmacist.

The met in a pharmacy in Leap, Co Cork – where Con was from – in 1952. Kay was a Madigan from Shanagolden where her brother Maurice still resides. Two years later, Con and Kay married in Shanagolden on October 12, 1954.

In the early sixties they moved to Doon where they raised their six children –  Pat (recently deceased), Hubert, Noelle, Marian, Esther and Martin. The couple lived on Main Street until quite recently.

Martin said his father was a very fit, active man who relished the physical side of veterinary.

“He always said that pigs were his best patients but he had a great reputation with horses, cattle and all animals alike. As a vet, his work day would easily start at 3am in the springtime, and most of the day was spent on calls to farmers, TB testing, or working on his own farm.

“Despite that commitment, he was a daily Mass-goer and his presence in the family home was always felt,” said Martin. 

Con’s ability to work away from home for much of the day was enabled by Kay’s commitment to the home.

“Her day typically began at 6am with some house work before she attended early morning Mass. As a pharmacist, she would prepare Con’s medicines and also dispense directly to farmers. As a mother, she would tend to the six children and see to the laundry, cooking and cleaning for the household,” said Martin. 

Kay would regularly work though to midnight and, like Con, always had the energy and enthusiasm for the next day’s challenges. Their commitment to the daily Rosary was admirable and it lessened the trials and tribulations of life for them.

The fact that Con and Kay managed to live independently, into their nineties, up to just nine months ago, is a testament to their health and commitment to one another. Of course, the untimely death of their son, Pat, aged 56, on November 24 last took a very heavy toll on both of them.

“Such was the bond between them that when Con shuffled from this mortal coil on January 2, Kay followed shortly on January 4,” said Martin.

One of the eight priests to concelebrate the funeral Mass was Fr Tony Ryan, who was Doon parish priest for 12 years until 2016.

“I knew them very well, a lovely, lovely couple with great faith, and very much respected and admired by the local community. Con in his day was a tremendous vet, everybody said he was an outstanding vet. He was very committed to every animal he had to look after.

“And Kay was a pharmacist and, of course, prepared medicines for the animals. They were together in marriage and business – a lovely, lovely couple. They were great family people,” said Fr Ryan.

To the outsider, it is poignant and beautiful that an elderly couple would be buried together but Fr Ryan spoke of the sadness of losing both a mother and father within days of each other.

”It is very unusual. For the couple themselves it was happy - the journey that began the day they met continues on in the eternal life but for their family, of course, it was very sad to lose both parents, and also a brother last November,” said Fr Ryan.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a nanamacha dílis.