Tributes paid to ‘devoted family woman’ Ria

THE passing of Mrs Maria Dougan Cromie took place at the home of her daughter and son-in-law, Florence and Ian Shilliday, 58 Drumdreenagh Road, Rathfriland, on Sunday January 8.

Ria, as she was affectionately known to everyone who had the pleasure of knowing her, was the dearly loved wife of the late James Heron Cromie and devoted mum of William, Jim, George, Fred and Florence. A woman of many sterling qualities she endeared herself to all those who had the pleasure of knowing her.

She is survived by four sons - William, Jim, George and Fred; one daughter Florence; daughters-in-law Joan, Carol, Freda and Clodagh; son-in-law Ian, 18 grandchildren; six great grandchildren and one sister, Mrs Reta Brown. To these and all other relatives sincere sympathy has been extended.

The funeral which was very largely attended took place from the home of her daughter and son-in-law for a service in Scarva Street Presbyterian Church. As the cortege made its way it passed through the homeland of Doughery when a pause was made at her home dwellings.

In the church the hymns ‘The Lord’s My Shepherd’, ‘What A Friend We Have In Jesus’ and ‘The Day Thou Gavest Lord Is Ended’ were sung. Mr Tom Haire presided at the organ. The service was conducted by the Rev. A. Watson and he was assisted by the Rev. J. Briggs, former Minister of Scarva Street, and Mr Seamus Burke.

Mrs Janet Toal paid the following tribute to her grandmother: “Ria was the eldest in a family of three girls. When she was just nine, the girls suffered the loss of their mother and, as the eldest, she took on more responsibility within the home.

“At this young age, Ria became a mother figure, caring for the family and farm.

“Life as a young woman growing up in the 1930s was very challenging for Ria. A recession and a Second World War added to the challenges of farming and running a home, but it was these experiences which were to mould the young woman into the hardworking, wise, loving and very capable lady which Ria became.

“Young Ria met James Cromie from Doughery at Loughbrickland Mission Hall. They were marred in June 1949 and Ria joined the Cromie family at the farm in Doughery.

“Ria was devoted to her family and always ensured that everyone was well cared for. They built a home and family based on love where everyone was made welcome.

“Ten years ago her health required more care and she moved in with her daughter and son-in-law and grandchildren William and Claire at Drumdreenagh in Rathfriland.

“Ria and Florence were not only mother and daughter, but also best friends.

“The family wish to thank all those who were part of the care support team, including the local doctors and nurses, the home support team, Daisy Hill Hospital Stroke Unit, and the pastoral care of Rev. Andrew Watson, Assistant Seamus Burke and Deaconess, Miss Kathleen Spence.

“It is difficult to name all those who cared for Ria and made her life such a celebration of strong family values and faith, and the family circle wish to thank all those who visited, prayed or helped in any way.”

The readings were by Claire and William Shilliday.

The interment took place afterwards in the New Cemetery and a prayer was made by her niece Miss Muriel Cromie (Deaconess). Family flowers were placed on the grave and donations in lieu are being sent to William Bell and Co. Funeral Directors, 23 Kenlis Street, Banbridge, BT32 3LR for Scarva Street Presbyterian Church and Daisy Hill Hospital Stroke Unit. (Cheques made payable to William Bell and Co.)

William Bell and Co. had charge of the funeral arrangements.