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Sunday 23 September 2018

Teresa was a gifted gardener and artist

Appreciation

The late Teresa Ward
The late Teresa Ward

The late Teresa Ward of Menapia Avenue, whose first anniversary occurs on March 14, was the last surviving member of the Roche family from Upper John Street.

Born the youngest child of Tom and Anastasia Roche (nee Nolan) in April 1918, Teresa passed away last year just short of her 99th birthday. She was predeceased by her brothers Jim and Tom and sisters Nan, Nellie, Kate, Madge and Stella.

Teresa spent the first forty years of her life in Wexford, attending the Presentation Convent and later the Technical School. Her first job was in Wexford County Council where for a time she worked as secretary to the first County Manager, T D Sinnott. Her colleagues in the Council included Brendan Corish, Tom Browne, Joe Crosbie, Nellie Hore and Tom Frizelle.

She later went to work for solicitor Fintan O'Connor as secretary and probate and conveyancing clerk, where she remained until she emigrated to England in 1957.

Teresa was a gifted artist, gardener and needlewoman, making most of her own clothes. In her youth she was an accomplished ballroom dancer, winning many prizes for her footwork, especially when partnering her cousin Foxy Roche in the tango in the old Town Hall and in the various dancehalls around the county.

It was on one such occasion in the Strand Hotel, Curracloe, that she met her future husband, Blackwater man Joe Ward. They emigrated to Birmingham in 1957, where their daughter Anita was born. Teresa once more entered the legal world and worked as a conveyancing clerk in a prominent firm of Birmingham Solicitors until her retirement in the early 1980's.

Following Joe's retirement in 1987, the couple returned to Wexford and set up home in Menapia Avenue around the corner from her family home and close to neighbours and friends with whom she had grown up and most importantly, her sisters, daughter and their families. It was as though she had never left Wexford.

A woman of great faith, for many years she gave out the Rosary at the Saturday evening Mass in Rowe Street and it remained a constant in her life to the end. She spent a very happy life until dementia and failing physical health necessitated her going into nursing home care in 2013. Throughout her years in care she never forgot her family members which was a great blessing.

She passed away peacefully in the care of the staff of Wygram Nursing Home, which is situated to the rear of her childhood home and overlooking the home in Menapia Avenue she shared with Joe in their retirement. She couldn't have asked for better.

She is survived by Joe, Anita, son-in-law Martin, grandson Conor, nieces, nephews and wider family members. Her first anniversary Mass took place in Rowe Street Church on Sunday, March 11.

Wexford People

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