The town of Killarney has paid a purple tribute to a former Rose of Tralee contestant from Baltimore now buried alongside the sister she never knew in her beloved Kerry.
Former Rose contestants wore purple in honor of brain tumor victim Dorothy Moriarty Henggeler at her memorial service in the Kingdom.
Known as Dott, she died at 28 years of age at her US home last week, just three years after representing Washington at the 2011 Rose of Tralee.
Dott’s family had asked for a purple touch to her funeral in honor of the charities fighting against the brain cancer which so tragically ended their daughter’s life.
They told funeral goers how Dott was a ‘gift from God’ after the death of her elder sister Treasa as a tot to meningitis 30 years ago.
Heart-broken parents Eibhlin and Dick told the Irish Independent of their ‘unimaginable grief’ at saying goodbye to a second child as the sisters were laid to rest side by side at Aghadoe Cemetery outside Killarney.
A week after she passed away at the family home in Baltimore from a brain tumor, Dott’s remains were returned home to Killarney, her mother’s hometown.
Her parents also spoke of their joy as 18 of her ‘sister Roses’ attended the service where dad Dick told mourners how they had prayed for another daughter after the death of Treasa while on holiday in Killarney.
He said: “28 years ago our prayers were answered when Dorothy came into our lives. For the last five months we have been on Dot’s final journey to heaven where I am sure she is now reunited with her sister and they will both look over the family.
“Nothing would have pleased my daughter more than seeing her sister Roses and brother escorts at her funeral.”
He added: “The joy and love she has given us has been immeasurable. Over time Eibhlin and I slowly realized that Dorothy was also a gift to so many others.
“She made friends feel like family and she made family feel so special and since her illness we’ve come to know just how many people were deeply touched by her.
“Our gift from God became your gift from Dorothy, which is God’s love.”
The Irish Independent reports that each of the 18 Roses who had met Dottie at the 2011 festival carried a red Rose and formed a guard of honor as her remains were carried from St Mary’s Cathedral.