TAOISEACH Enda Kenny and senior government figures were among the mourners as hundreds of people paid their last respects to the “loving, kind, compassionate and generous” Florence Noonan, wife of Finance Minister Michael Noonan.
St Paul’s Church in Dooradoyle was packed to capacity as mourners, also including the President’s Aide Du Comp Capt Louise Conlon, and Attorney general Maire Whelan, paid tribute to a teacher who dedicated her life to supporting youngsters in the neighbouring National School and supporting her husband Michael on his rise up the political ladder.
Limerick was saddened when the popular 68-year-old passed away at Milford Hospice last week.
Affectionately known as ‘Flor’, she had suffered from Alzheimer’s disease for 14 years. She passed away with her family by her side after contracting double pneumonia. Tearful mourners at her funeral heard how Florence had a positive impact on everyone she met.
Her son Tim Noonan, now based in Seattle, said: “She cared for us deeply. Mam made an impact on everyone she met: she was intelligent, firm, clever and elegant. She always stood out as a woman of exception. Exceptional as a daughter and a sister, and exceptional as a mother and wife. She was a moral and compassionate woman: no-one was ever turned away from her door empty-handed.”
Michael Noonan Jr paid a special tribute to all those who took care of his mother during her illness.
“Her many relatives, both friends and neighbours, who helped and gave emotional support. I also think about all the nursing and medical staff who kept Mam in good health, and especially Prof Declan Lyons, who supported Mam from the time she was diagnosed,” he told the large congregation.
He also thanked the Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland, everyone at Limerick Regional Hospital and in Milford Hospice.
Politicians from across the spectrum and further afield have paid tribute to Mrs Noonan.
Fine Gael Mayor Jim Long said many people’s vote for Mr Noonan was instead a mark of approval for Flor’s kindness.
“When you’d be out on the canvass with Flor, no matter who it was, you would give her the vote: but it was Michael that benefited from her good will and the way she came over at the door.”
*See Monday’s Limerick Leader - February 27, 2012 - for a full report on the sad passing of Florence Noonan.