This morning at 11 am in The Oratory I will have the great privilege of celebrating the funeral of 108 year old Margaret Dunbar from Ballyclare in County Antrim.
Margaret RIP passed away on Tuesday last. In two days time - Monday February 20th she would have been 108 years old.
That means that Margaret was already 5 years old when WORLD WAR 1 began and 44 years old at the outbreak of WORLD WAR 11
She was in her garden until well into her 90's.
I got to know her many years ago when I celebrated the marriage of her daughter Joan to the Irish flautist Seam Tansey.
|MARGARET DUNBAR 108|
Seamus Tansey is an acknowledged expert on the Irish Flute and in fact, as far as I know, taught the famous Michael Flatley to play the flute.
Seamus is a member of The Oratory congregation at Larne and delights us all every Christmas and Easter with his music and recitations.
MARGARET DUNBAR - formerly Margaret Melville was born on 20th February 1909 at Whiterock Belfast - which was then in the countryside outside Belfast.
Her parents were John Mevville (publican) and Rhoda (housewife).
She had three sisters Meta (died at 32); Rhoda (died at 83) and Sadie (died at 76). Her brother Sam died at 66.
Margaret Married John Dunbar ( farmer and boiler man from Straid) in 1936 and they lived at Greenisland outside Belfast. Sadly John was killed in work at the age of 44 in 1959 by falling from a ladder.
Margaret and her two daughters Joan and Judith moved to Ballyclare after John died and Margaret lived in that house for the rest of her life.
Margaret was an avid gardener right into her 90's staying in the garden until darkness frll.
She liked TV sports and followed Formula One racing, snooker, football and rugby.
She loved to sing and her two favourite songs were: PLEASE RELEASE ME LET ME GO and WHEN ITS' SPRINGTIME IN THE ROCKIES.
She never drank alcohol but was happy to sit in a pub drinking minerals.
She was a stickler for table manners and was "fiesty" until the end of her life.
MARGARET - CHURCH AND RELIGION:
She was a Presbyterian by birth but also attended the Church of Ireland where she liked the singing. Her churches were Whiteabbey Presbyterian Church and St Patrick's Church of Ireland in Jordanstown.
Margaret was always absolutely open minded when it came to churches and religion.
As a result she is being buried from The Oratory in Larne.
It is a great privilege for me to be celebrating her funeral for two reasons:
1. She is one of, if not the oldest person in Ireland.
2. She is someone from a Presbyterian / Church of Ireland background that has entrusted her last religious service to me.
Margaret's mortal remains rested in The Oratory these last 2 nights.
|THE ORATORY AWAITING MARGARET'S ARRIVAL ON THURSDAY EVENING LAST|
Of course I have done things like this all my priestly life.
As the Psalmist says:
"HOW PLEASANT IT IS WHEN BROTHERS (AND SISTERS) LIVE TOGETHER IN UNITY. IT IS LIKE PRECIOUS OIL POURED UPON THE HEAD RUNNING DOWN UPON THE BEARD TO THE COLLAR OF THE ROBE"
Margaret, may the God who formed you in your mother's womb 108 years ago welcome you into Paradise where Lazarus is poor no longer and the just have eternal rest".
The highly acclaimed Belfast singer - Loreto McAuley will sing at Margaret's funeral service; One of the songs she will sing is: GO SILENT FRIEND: