There has been profound shock and sadness at the untimely passing of Claire Bardon Maher, Grand Parade Mullingar.
Claire, wife of Damien Maher, Westmeath Topic Sports Editor, was herself an avid GAA supporter.
It was known, though the family kept it very private, that Claire was battling illness over the past 18 months or so. She fought with dignity, courage and optimism. Indeed notwithstanding her declining health her enthusiasm and love for life, family and for Damien never waned. Her radiant smile, infectious enthusiasm and determination remained. She was gregarious, jovial, kind and generous.
Claire’s love of sport was well known. She was a committed supporter of St Loman’s GAA club, Mullingar and she revelled in their recent dominance of Westmeath football, and no one would doubt who she supported when entering TEG Cusack Park.
Claire packed so much into her 46 years on this earth. She endured ill health from a young age and underwent a double transplant, kidney and pancreas, in 2000. It gave her two decades of improved health and she didn’t hesitate in taking advantage: immediately after the transplant she headed for Florida to visit Disney World and fulfilled a dream. Even being hospitalised while there didn’t deter her.
She later met her future husband Damien and they married in 2011. Her desire to enjoy life and especially travel never waned, despite challenging health circumstances. She regularly holidayed in sunny places, including Lanzarote, where a visit to the local zoo was always a prerequisite, as she loved animals and nature.
Claire knew almost everyone in her home town of Mullingar, having been born in Millmount, and worked in Lifestyle Sports, Tesco, Eircom, Teagasc, Mullingar Post Office, Dealz Mullingar and for a time at Midlands Regional Hospital, Mullingar. In her student years, she worked in the Tobacco Factory, Mullingar, where her late father, Matty was a loyal employee. In latter years, she worked in the Department of Education, Athlone.
Claire lived every day to the full. She had a very busy and active working life and despite her health issues, continued to work hard. She was a very contented resident of Grand Parade, Mullingar, but kept in close touch with Millmount where she grew up, and she loved it there. She was prominently involved with the Irish Kidney Association, along with her parents Mattie and Patricia.
There has been a huge outpouring of sympathy from all who knew her and her family in recent days, especially in Grand Parade and Millmount.
Outside of work and her passion for travel, Claire loved sport and especially GAA. Aside from St Loman’s, she supported Westmeath passionately, in football, hurling, ladies football and camogie. She travelled to all games in the company of her beloved husband, Damien and enjoyed every occasion.
From Croke Park to Páirc Uí Chaoimh, to Casement Park in Belfast, Claire made the journey and enthusiastically supported the Lake County. She also supported Kilkenny, Kerry and Tyrone, though not when they played her native county.
She was a great supporter of Damien during his tenure as Minor Board Secretary and in later years, Fixtures Secretary of Westmeath GAA. She encouraged and supported him in his refereeing career and was very well known among the referees in Westmeath and in other counties. She and Damien made great friends in counties such as Cork and Kilkenny during Damien’s time on the National Referee’s Panel.
Claire will be sorely missed by everyone who knew her. She was never shy of a chat, and those who spent time with her would never not be laughing. She lived life to the full with her beloved Damien always by her side. For all in Topic her death was like that of a family member, someone to whom all felt close.
We extend our deepest sympathy to Damien; to Claire’s heartbroken mother Patricia; brothers Mattie and Patrick, and to the extended members of the Maher and Bardon families, especially Claire’s nieces Nicola, Sarah, Michelle and Laura, on the sad death of Claire. She will also be mourned by her uncle Paddy, The Downs. She will be sadly missed by aunts Mary, Jeanette and Laurie. Claire’s many friends and neighbours will miss her dearly.
May her gentle soul rest peacefully among the angels in heaven. Suaimhneas sioraaí tabhair dí, a Thiarna.
Claire’s Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Wednesday morning, 25 August, in the Cathedral of Christ The King, Mullingar, at 11am, with burial afterwards in Ballyglass Cemetery.