SATURDAY November 12 saw one of the largest funerals in the Church of St Therese in Banbridge for a long time.
Hundreds turned out to lend their support and to share sympathy with the husband and family of Miriam (Fullerton) Walsh. Miriam’s untimely and sudden death in the early hours of Thursday November 10 was a shock to everyone who knew her.
Miriam was the fifth-born child of James and Theresa Fullerton of Blue Road, Ballyvarley. She was educated at St Mary’s PS, Lisnagade and then at St Patrick’s College in Banbridge.
She then began employment with her older sisters in the Lotus Shoe factory. There she made many friends. On 16 September 1978 she married her sweetheart Paddy Walsh and together they had four children - Maria, Stephen, Patrick and Paul.
Miriam was a loving, devoted and supportive wife, mother, grandmother, sister and aunt. She loved any excuse to get together with her sisters and particularly enjoyed her weekly Saturday shopping trips with her youngest sister Tish.
Paddy’s own family had many tragedies through illness and accidents and throughout them all Miriam was Paddy’s rock. Indeed during the final months of her father-in-law’s life she tenderly cared for and tended to his needs.
Miriam was a gifted seamstress and took pride in the fine outfits and decorative curtains and drapes which she made and which adorn many of our local homes.
When her children grew up, Miriam’s caring and gentle nature saw her work as Nursing Auxiliary in Craigavon and Daisy Hill Hospitals as well as in the local Residential Cre Homes.
She also did a stint in the Maxol Filling Station where she greeted the customers with a cheery smile and a friendly, helping hand.
Miriam was interested in people and so made time to listen to their troubles or to share in their joy. Miriam truly loved God and loved her neighbour. She was generous with her time and her talents. She especially enjoyed the voluntary work that she did in Mind Wise Chaity Shop in Rathfriland Street. Again she worked there with enthusiasm and energy, making friends with the other volunteers and with the customers.
Miriam was diagnosed with cancer just six weeks before her death. She bore her illness with bravery and courage. Of course her faith in Christ was a great comfort to her, she was a regular Churchgoer and indeed only a few days before her death stated that if it was God’s will then she would accept it for she knew where she was going!
She never complained as she was lovingly cared for and supported by her husband Paddy, who never left her side, and by her close-knit family.
Miriam is survived by her husband Paddy, daughter Maria, sons Stephen, Patrick and Paul, four grandchildren Jake, Rebecca, Ethan and Melissa, sisters Eileen, Christina, Rita, Bernie and Tish, brothers Eugene and Seamus, sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law nieces and nephews. To these and all other relatives and freidns sincere sympathy has been extended.
The funeral took place from her home at 72 Edenderry Park on Saturday November 12 for Requiem Mass in the Church orf St Therese at 11am. Her remains were carried in procession all the way to the Church by her own immediate family, nephews and neices, relatives and close friends and neighbours.
She was then borne inside by her daughter and five sisters.
The Church was filled to overflowing as Canon Liam Stevenson celebrated Mass and paid a fitting tribute to Miriam.
Mrs Maria Quinn provided the music and sang the hymn Be Not Afraid, Amazing Grace, Ave Maria and in the Arms of An Angel. Miriam was laid to rest beside her husband’s family plot in St Patrick’s Cemetery, Dromore Road.
Miriam will indeed be sorely missed by all who loved her.
Family flowers only were placed on the grave and donations in lieu of flowers being sent to William Bell and Co Funeral Directors, 23 Kenlis Street, Banbridge BT32 3LR for the Southern Area Hospice in Newry.
William Bell and Co had charge of funeral arrangements.