Tributes have been paid to well known Derry woman Ann Fox, who passed away peacefully at the Foyle Hospice this week.
Hundreds packed St Columba’s Church Long Tower on Wednesday morning as Ann’s remains were carried into the church to the emotional music of ‘Annie’s Song.’
Working in Molin’s factory, Derry City Football Club and then Weightwatchers, Ann Fox crossed paths with many people over the years. She had a warm heart, an infectious personality and once you met her, you never forgot that smile.
Father John McDevitt who celebrated Requiem Mass, described Ann as a woman who gave her time, energy and talents everyday to other people.
“Ann was a woman who showed in life how love can be practiced in ordinary ways,” he said.
“She was one of those generous people who found a satisfaction devoting her talents to the care of others.
“More than 40 years ago in this church Ann and Michael were married. They created a loving and stable home for their children and grandchildren.
“Ann adored her three grandchildren. It was as a wife, mother and homemaker that Ann excelled.
“Her door was always open no matter when you arrived. She was always available for a cup of tea, a meal, or even a glass of wine in the evening.
“Ann was someone who enjoyed life, she enjoyed her working life in particular. In Molin’s where she was wages clerk, I believe no matter who she met or where she met them, she always remembered their employee number.
“After Molin’s closed Ann became the first secretary of Derry City Football Club, she was there for the Treble in 1989 and the glory years. She also spent 21 years working for Weightwatchers, improving the health and reducing the waistbands of many people in the Derry area.
“Ann faced her illness as she faced life, with resilience, stubbornness, and love. She did not allow it to define her, and did not allow it to stop her enjoying life.
“Ann’s journey led her to Foyle Hospice where for 15 weeks she continued to live with illness surrounded by care and love of family, but also care and dedication of the staff there.”
Ann’s daughter Mairead perhaps put it best, reading a reflection at the Funeral Mass when she said: “You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back. Or you can do what she would want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on…..”
Ann Fox (nee Hassan) is survived by her Michael, children Gearoid, Caoimhe and Mairead, grandchildren Aoife, Cora and Eabha, daughter-in-law Emma and brothers Tony and Dessie.
She Is Gone
You can shed tears that she is gone
Or you can smile because she has lived
You can close your eyes and pray that she will come back
Or you can open your eyes and see all that she has left
Your heart can be empty because you can’t see her
Or you can be full of the love that you shared
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday
You can remember her and only that she is gone
Or you can cherish her memory and let it live on
You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back
Or you can do what she would want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.