Moving tributes have been paid to the late teacher Patsy Casey who passed away peacefully on Tuesday morning.
Patsy, who was 83, was well known in the city and will be fondly remembered by the thousands of pupils who benefited from her unique style of teaching.
Wife of the late Leo and mother to Schira, Patti, Peter, Terri, Lee, Hugh, Kevin and Angela, Patsy Casey also had 38 grandchildren.
And she had the knack of making all of them feel that they were the special one.
Along the corridors and classrooms of Nazareth House Primary School in Bishop Street where she taught for more than 40 years and was vice principal, the legacy of Patsy Casey will forever be imprinted.
Not only was she known for her caring attitude during school years, it was not unknown for Patsy to stay in touch with pupils well into their adult years.
Sister Bernardine who was principal of the school during Mrs Casey’s time there said last night that she has lost her “greatest friend.”
“Patsy Casey epitomised everything that Nazareth House Primary School was about,” she said. “She was a natural born teacher.
“Her enthusiasm and excitement made every lesson new and she used every activity to keep the children engaged. Patsy would look out of the window, see the sun shining and off she went with the class for a nature walk. She knew exactly how to get children involved. She made it easy.”
The Derry nun said Mrs Casey had built up a strong crowd of admirers at the Ulster American Folk Park in Omagh where she took the children dressed in the costumes of the time.
“Patsy brought history alive,” she said. “She loved music and the feises. Her work with the poor and the Saint Vincent De Paul Society is legendary.
“She had a great love of Our Lady and would often bring in miraculous medals for her pupils as a treat.
“She was a lady who loved her family and friends. She was always there for you.”
After retirement the two women stayed friends and Sr Bernardine revealed how Mrs Casey would love to go to the Gaeltacht.
She also had a love of education and continued studying well into her 80s.
Adding his tribute, Paul O’Hea principal of Nazareth House said: “It was with great sadness that we heard of the death of Patsy this week.
“Patsy taught in Nazareth House Primary School for what seemed forever, before retiring in 1990. Patsy then served for another 15 years as a school governor. Her death, although sad, has given cause to remember the numerous stories that shape her legacy at Nazareth House.
“Her energy, enthusiasm and, above all, her love of and commitment to the children in her care have left an indelible impression on everyone. Her mark is everywhere and she played a huge part in creating the “Caring and Sharing” ethos of our school.
“Parents and grandparents are often heard talking about Mrs Casey. She is even fondly remembered as far away as the Folk Park in Omagh. The staff there, to this day, always ask about Mrs Casey, so great an impression she left with them.
“One abiding memory is how she used the Mummers to captivate and motivate even the most disenchanted children.
“No doubt, up in heaven at this very minute, she’ll be organising St. Patrick, St. George, Wee Johnny Funny etc. in a celestial version of the Mummers!
“The whole community of Nazareth House Primary School, past and present are greatly indebted to Patsy and she will always be fondly remembered.”