Those We Lost
Recent passings in the Irish and Irish American community
FitzGerald is pre-deceased by his wife, Joan, and survived by his daughter, Mary, and his two sons, John and Mark.
Former Irish Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihan passed away at his home in west Dublin on June 10th, at the age of 52.
Lenihan was born into one of Ireland’s most well known political families. His father, the late Brian Lenihan, Snr, was a cabinet minister for over 25 years. His grandfather, aunt and brother all had political careers. Born in Dublin, Lenihan was educated at Trinity College and received his master’s degree in law from Cambridge University. He had been involved with Fianna Fail since he was a teenager but did not run for office until 1996 when he was asked to stand for the Dublin West seat on his father’s death.
In 2008, Lenihan became Ireland’s Minister of Finance and by the summer of that year was up against the greatest economic freefall in Ireland’s history. Diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in December of 2009, Lenihan continued fighting to rescue the country from fiscal despair. As finance minister he made many controversial changes to Ireland’s budget. The citizens of Ireland were outraged by tax increases and Ireland’s international bailout deal. Despite the varying opinions of Lenihan’s political legacy there has been an outpouring of mourning from colleagues. At his funeral, Attorney General Paul Gallagher said, “ If I had not seen it with my own eyes, I would not have believed such courage was possible.” Lenihan leaves behind his wife, Patricia, and their two children.
Artist and craftsman Breon O’Casey passed away on May 22, 2011 at the age of 83 in Penzance, Cornwall, England.
Breon O’Casey was born in London on April 30, 1928, the son of Irish playwright Sean O’Casey and Irish actress Eileen Carey Reynolds O’Casey. The eldest of three children, O’Casey moved with his family from London to Totnes, Devon in 1937. His love of visual arts developed while attending Dartington Hall. After completing national service, O’Casey moved to London and studied at the Anglo-French Art Centre. In the late 1950s, O’Casey moved to St. Ives, Cornwall and became associated with the St. Ives School. He worked for artist Denis Mitchell and sculptress Dame Barbara Hepworth from 1959-1963. These years were his apprenticeship of sorts, in which he developed the tools necessary to create his art. In 1961, O’Casey married Doreen Corscadden, a native of Northern Ireland.
O’Casey began making jewelry after his time with Hepner and continued until his 1996 exhibition, “The Last Jewelry Show.” He then focused on sculpting,creating wax figures which he cast in bronze. O’Casey took up weaving in the 1960s and continued until he physically couldn’t weave anymore. A recent exhibition of his paintings, sculptures and prints was at Somerset House in London from October 2010 to January 2011. O’Casey is survived by his wife, Doreen, son Brendan and daughters Duibhne and Oona.
Hon. Joan O’Dwyer passed away on June 6. Judge O’Dwyer, who was in her 80s, was one of only 12 women in a class of 200 at Columbia Law School. Her father, James O’Dwyer, born in Bohola, Co. Mayo, was killed on active duty while serving as a New York City firefighter.
O’Dwyer passed the New York State Bar in 1950 and joined her uncle Paul O’Dwyer’s law practice. Paul, who is also remembered for his social and political activism, served as president of the City Council. His brother William O’Dwyer became Mayor of New York. In 1960, Joan became the first woman appointed to the Criminal Court in Queens, New York.
She went on to devote 50 years to judicial service She was the widow of the late Hon. Anthony P. Savarese, and is survived by her sons, Shane and Liam O’Neill, and their spouses, Karen Frieman and June Ma; her daughter, Kelly O’Neill Levy and her husband Harlan Levy; and her grandchildren Jamie, Max, Gavin, Caitlin and Emily. Kelly is a Civil Court Judge assigned to Family Court in in the Bronx.
Pat Preston, the “Ireland Expert,” passed away on May 17 at her home in the Hudson Valley town of Red Hook, NY. She left behind a forty-year legacy of exquisite and informative travel writing, and a life-long love of Ireland.
Patricia Ann Tunison Preston was born on March 18, 1944, the day after St. Patrick’s Day. Preston first visited Ireland in 1996 – the first trip of hundreds throughout her life. After returning, she persuaded the Irish Tourist Board to hire her, making Preston the first American employee in the Board’s history. She worked there until 1985, when she left to devote her time to freelance travel writing, focusing on Ireland.
Preston authored over 20 travel books – 13 of them about Ireland – including the 1st and 2nd editions of Frommer’s Dublin, the 1st edition of Frommer’s Ireland, and Ireland Memories. She also contributed to many other travel books and to magazines, including National Geographic Traveler, Travel and Leisure, Ireland of the Welcomes, and Irish America.
In addition to her work in print, Preston also maintained irelandexpert.com, a popular website, where she offered her valuable and friendly advice to all those planning a trip to Ireland. With her husband, John, who died in December 2010, Preston led more than 30 trips to Ireland. She is survived by her sister, two sisters-in-law, and 10 nieces and nephews.
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