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Passing of renowned businesswoman - the late Nora O'Connor

Friday, 25th September, 2020 10:52am
Passing of renowned businesswoman - the late Nora O'Connor

The late Nora O'Connor

Passing of renowned businesswoman - the late Nora O'Connor

The late Nora O'Connor

The death has occurred of former leading Nenagh businesswoman, Nora O' Connor, causing widespread regret and sadness in the locality.Mrs O' Connor was wife of the late Joey O' Connor, the founder of a number of local supermarkets who introduced the people of Nenagh and surrounding areas to a host of ultra-modern shopping experiences in the era from the 1950s into the new century.

While her late husband held a formidable reputation for his commitment to work and innovation, Nora herself was much more than just the strong woman behind the successful man. Mrs O' Connor, as most people called her, was a tireless worker who poured her heart and soul into what became her section of the O'Connor retail empire over a career that spanned over seven decades.

She played a crucial role in establising the first supermarket she and her husband opened in Kenyon Street in the early 1960s, situated on the site that is now occupied by Finnerty's Pharmacy. The innovation and unwavering commitment they both displayed ensured that the store, trading under the VG brand, quickly became Nenagh's premier grocery and homeware store.

When her husband branched out into founding other big local stores, such as O' Connor's Nenagh Shopping Centre at Martyr's Road and a shopping centre in Thurles, Mrs O' Connor remained rooted in the Kenyon Street outlet, which she managed with aplomb. She subsequently went on to manage a new store, O' Connors Kenyon Street Market, which she and her husband built on the site of the old garda barracks in the town. It is a testament to her hard work and dedication to her customers that this store continues trading successfully today under the management of her son Donal.

It was a highly demanding career, yet in between it all Mrs O' Connor gave birth to a total of 11 children, including a set of twins. Neighbouring women in Tyone where she raised her large family used to marvel at how quickly she could return to her management role in the supermarket just days after giving birth in the nearby hospital. On top of that she never drove. She walked to and from work every day for decades, including home and back at lunchtimes. The daily walks over a lifetime stood to her and helped her live an active working life into ripe old age.

Despite all her success and that of her husband, Mrs O' Connor remained a well grounded woman who never forgot her humble roots in County Roscommon. She never wanted to be the manager in a sharp suit. Her working attire was a plain white shop coat - despite her financial success, she was never one for airs and graces or grandiose notions. Mrs O' Connor was one of Nenagh's first career mothers and is definitely a leading contender for the longest serving.

A native of Curaghaleen, Drum, Co Roscommon, Mrs O' Connor (née Harney) died on Sunday last, September 20th, after a short illness. She is predeceased by her husband Joseph and her son Peter. Her passing is deeply regretted by her children Rory, Donal, Agnes, Deirdre, Catherine, Joseph Coleman, Celestine, Elizabeth, Michael and Edel, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, grandchildren, extended family and friends. Mrs O' Connor's Funeral Mass, confined to family and friends due to Covid-19 restrictions, took place on Tuesday of this week in St Mary of the Rosary Church, followed by burial in Lisboney New Cemetery.

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