Thursday 23 November 2017

Retired principal Rita Curtis lived a good life

The late Rita Curtis.
The late Rita Curtis.

A RETIRED principal from St Fintan's National School in Taghmon, Rita (Margaret) Curtis, from 'St Aidan's', Waterloo Road, Wexford and Carrigbyrne, has died at the age of 86.

Before taking up her post in Taghmon, Rita taught at Carrowreigh and then a two-teacher school in Treaceystown, which amalgamated with Taghmon in 1976, when she started teaching at the new combined school. She became principal in the early 1980s, a position she held for seven years.

Dan O'Flaherty, who took over as principal at St Fintan's in 1992, said Rita was a most genuine person and news of her passing had come as a shock.

'She was a lovely person and had great rapport with the kids and was excellent with the teaching staff. She was brilliant as a teacher, a person and a friend and I count her among my best friends,' he said.

Rita was born in Adamstown in 1930 to David and Emma Curtis, the family moving to a house in Carrigbyrne in 1934. She attended Adamstown National School, the Holy Faith Secondary School in Rosbercon, New Ross, and Carysfort Teacher Training College where she had special memories and made lifelong friends.

Returning to Wexford, she first taught in Davidstown National School, moving to Adamstown, Carroreigh and Treaceystown National Schools where she was principal before moving to lead the new combined school in Taghmon.

During an appreciation of her life written by Bart and her family and read at Friday's funeral mass at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Rowe Street, Rita was described as an essential and much-loved member of the family, an easy and fun companion, fully involving herself in family life as well as providing much-needed support to Pat.

In 1962, Rita left Carrigbyrne when her mother died and joined Bart and Pat's growing family in St Aidan's.

Rita considered Bart, Pat and the children, as her own family, where she was involved in every aspect of their lives for over 50 years.

She cared for the children, particularly in their parents' absence, supporting education, music, and very importantly the auntie-taxi services to rugby, swimming, horse-riding, ballet and other essentials of family life. Her devotion was fully reciprocated by each one and she was totally integrated into the family and with the family expressing its appreciation for Rita's love, care and devotion to Pat during her final illness.

Rita and all the many children she encountered, experienced a mutual adoration. Her pleasure in the company of children was evident to all, as her face lit up as soon as she encountered a small child.

The arrival of her 18 grand-nieces and grand-nephews provided a rich opportunity for a second generation of love and care, including increasing their engagement in their education. She really enjoyed this new generation of life in the family, and revelled in each of them, as they did in her.

Rita was a special person, happy, friendly, giving, open and welcoming to all with a great sense of fun and humour. She was especially generous with her time and finances to those less fortunate than her. This is attested by the many standing orders that still exist on her current account.

She was a fervent traveller, heading off each summer to interesting places such as then Communist Russia and Eastern Europe when it was difficult to go there, USA, Canada, Japan, Turkey and the Holy Land with her sister-in-law Maureen as her companion.

Rita was deeply religious and joyfully took part in the activities of her faith, living easily with its principles.

The beloved sister of Bart and predeceased by her sister in law Pat, an aunt to David, Emma, Mary Rose, Patricia, Eleanor and Grace and their spouses, she died last Tuesday (November 8) in the wonderfull care of the staff at Knockeen Nursing Home.

She is sadly missed by her loving family, grandnieces, grandnephews, relatives and many friends.

May She Rest In Peace.

Wexford People

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