The family of a Chicago family killed on vacation have paid tribute to their lost loved ones at their funeral masses in Wexford today.
Doug and Lily Alexander, both 75 years old, were travelling with their adult sons, Doug Jnr and Stephen, to the funeral of Lily’s sister, Winnie Keevey.
Their car collided with a truck on the main New Ross to Wexford road and emergency services pronounced the family dead at the scene.
The truck driver escaped uninjured but was later taken away and treated for shock.
Lily Alexander (née Ryan) was originally from Patrickswell in Co Limerick and she and her husband were regular visitors back to Ireland.
The family lived in Oak Lawn, Illinois and their local Bishop, Dr Denis Brennan, issued a joint statement on behalf of the Alexander, Ryan and Keevey families:
“It is with great sorrow that our family and friends unite – across the Atlantic Ocean – to mourn the passing of Lily, Doug, Steven and Doug Jnr Alexander.
“They were generous, loving and fun. As well as their love for the family in America, they opened their hearts and homes to all who travelled from here in Ireland to visit with them.
“They greatly enjoyed their regular trips to Ireland, with their final trip here to say farewell to Lily’s sister, Winnie. May she too Rest In Peace.
“They will be greatly missed but we are left with wonderful memories of great times spent together both here and in Oak Lawn, USA.
“Our whole family appreciates all of the kind words and support which we have received, and we ask for privacy as we grieve at this sad time.
“Our family deeply appreciates the work of all first responders and the ongoing assistance of civil and community services. Our deep gratitude goes to the local parish and Church community. We thank you all.
“Our family asks that the media respects our need for privacy at this time.”
Speaking at their funeral Mass Fr Seán Devereux recalled four lives well lived that ended in tragedy.
“A journey to grieve a sister, sister in law, and aunt ended abruptly, stunning those close to Doug, Lily, Steve and Doug Jr,” he told the congregation.
“Doug and Lily lived the American dream. They went to the US to build a life for themselves and through hard work they did this. But they also enjoyed life moments and your memories spoken about them over the past week tell of a couple who shared what they had with others. They were generous to the end.”
Doug Snr and Lily Alexander leave behind a daughter, Debbie. Doug Jnr also leaves behind a child and Stephen two daughters.
His partner, Susan Schulze, paid tribute to the man she’d made a life with in an emotional tribute on Facebook.
"I can never express the happiness Steve gave me. He showed me true love. I am so blessed to be a part of his life," she wrote.
His colleagues at the Bolingbrook Police Department where he worked as a cop for 17 years also released a statement: “Steve was a proud father who left behind two daughters, age 11 and 10, who were his pride and joy.”
All four bodies will be repatriated to the United States for burial after today’s funeral mass.