Obituary - Marion Lydon
Oughterard Newsletter April 2007
Marion Lydon, who died in Romsey Hospital on February 17, was a resident of the Romsey area since 1944. She was well-known and respected by many in the town and surrounding areas, and her funeral at St Joseph’s Church saw the church packed to capacity.
Born Marion Clancy to a well respected farming family near Oughterard in September 1916, she was one of 6 children. After finishing school, Marion began training in domestic science, but the death of her father in 1932, and some subsequent hard times, precluded further schooling, and she began work as a housekeeper for an exiled Polish countess, to help support the large family.
Moving to England
In 1938, Marion, like many of her compatriots, travelled to England in search of work, and worked in a BSA munitions factory in Birmingham during the war. Her fiancé, Michael, joined her in England and the couple married in 1944. At first they lived in rooms in Houghton, and then moved to Parnholt, and then again to Ampfield. In 1949, the family (now with three children) moved for the last time to a new house in Green Pond Lane, and Marion lived in this house for the rest of her life. However, she never forgot her homeland, and she retained close links with her family there – most summer holidays saw the whole family make the trip to Ireland.
Marion gave birth to two further children and in addition to running a busy household she worked for several years as a cook at Ampfield School. Her love of cooking never left her, and her skills were much admired and in demand. Countless wedding, birthday and christening cakes were produced in her modest kitchen, the sales of these supplementing the household income.
A staunch Catholic, Marion attended St Joseph’s Church in Romsey and Montfort College Church in Whitenap throughout her long life in the area, and developed a lasting bond with the communities of nuns and priests. All of the children commenced their education at La Sagesse Convent, and both her daughters, Catherine and Christina progressed through the senior school there. The church also saw many family celebrations over five decades. Her eldest son, John, went on to complete his education at Montfort College, and her other two sons, Michael and Stephen, attended St Mary’s and St George’s Schools in Southampton.
Her indomitable spirit and faith carried her through the difficult times following the death of her husband, Michael, in January 1998, after 54 years of happy marriage, and Marion continued to live alone in Green Pond Lane, still devoting herself to her family, friends and many charitable causes.
Her 90th birthday party, organised by her family in September 2006, underlined the popularity of this veritable matriarch, with nearly 150 guests attending. She was clearly moved by the fact that many of her relatives travelled from Ireland to celebrate with her.
Final Visit to Ireland
Her final visit back to the place of her birth was a sad one – Marion went back to Ireland in December 2006, to attend the funeral of one of her two surviving sisters and after this her previously undiminished spirit seemed to falter a little. Marion became unwell shortly after Christmas, but did not let this deter her from continuing her independent life. However, a lifetime of unremitting hard work had taken its toll on her, and she died of heart failure after a very brief stay in Romsey Hospital – the same hospital where she had given birth to three of her beloved children.
She was laid to rest at St. Mark’s in Ampfield, next to Michael. Present at her funeral were all of her descendants, many of her nieces and nephews who came from all over England and Ireland, and, remarkably, one nephew, Brian Monaghan, who had travelled all the way from New York to mark the passing of this humble but truly great woman, who had extended her love and care to so many during her long life.
She is survived by her five children, twelve grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
A lady in the real sense of the word, she will be greatly missed by all of her family and her many, many friends.