In memory of Joyce O’Connor (11th October 1919 to 23rd August 2015)

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My nan was one of the most amazing women I knew.

She didn’t  changed the world, wasn’t an explorer, a great inventor or an inspiring leader, she was however a funny and caring woman to humans and cats alike and most importantly just my nan.

Born in 1919,  she has seen a lot of change. Living her younger years in Norfolk,  moving to London as a married women and stating a family. She brought up her son and daughter single handedly,  after her husband was killed in a motor bike accident in 1952.
She spend her life caring for elderly family members and cleaning houses for a living to ensure her children had opportunities she never had.  In later years she help bring up her five grandchild and she open up her home to family’s who needed a place in London to stay whitest their sick children were in hospital.
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Thought out her life she took great pleasure in the company of cats, many were known just to move in. She was out lived by happily named pussy cat, who now resides with me.
Everyone that knew her or meet her enjoyed her company.  When in London she had many a visitor,  most of my close friends have known her hospitality in hotel O’Connor East Acton.
A favourite story’s of her’s is how she would cheer up the jehovah’s witnesses that regularly visited by putting bailey’s secretly in their tea.  Her response when we told her you can’t do that nan,  well they shouldn’t be so miserable.
She made the move after a fall, to live in Middlesbrough to be close to her daughter,  the last two year of her life was spent getting out more than she had in the past ten.  With regular visits out to mine and mums for Sunday dinners. We spend our last Christmas  together in my first house. One of my favourite memory’s is celebrating my 31st birthday with her and my friends in the garden of her care home,  or #grannyInTheGarden as we called it.
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She loved an ice cream and we would often pop to Redcar and Saltburn, to indulge this.  One of her last trip out was to the cinema where her grandson works to see Paddington bear,  her first cinema trip for 30 year.  She laugh from start to finish.  Nan had a laugh that was infectious and she taught me to always see the brighter side of life.  Something I promise to try and carry on.
She would joke about living to 100 to get her letter from the queen, unfortunately she only made it to 96,  but in her last months she talked of living a good life and let her family know she was ready.
She might not have changed the world but her love and kindness is imprinted on many hearts.

5 Comments

  1. nan was a wonderful, caring, hospitable women with the canniest face and sweetest manner I’ve known. Thank you for welcoming me into your home so your grand daughter and I could see the sights, shops (and cocktail bars) of London. I remember you sitting in your front room with your huge headphones on so you could hear the TV. Every carer that visited you fell in love with you too.

    All my love to you Rachel, Mary, Dan and Amy. X x x

  2. My Nan’s (Joyce O’Connor) funeral will be held Tuesday 1st September at 10.15am in St. Hilda’s Chapel Teesside Crematorium, Acklam Road. Middlesbrough. TS7 7HD

    Followed by a few nibbles at mums house.

    As Nan outlived her sister, husband and friends it’s likely to be a small affair, however the family would like to invite anyone that felt a connection or wants to celebrate a long and wonderful life.

    I never saw nan in black, we want people to feel comfortable to wear whatever they want, but her favourite colour was blue.

    We know it’s a long way to travel for some so please do not feel obliged, your thoughts and messages have been a great comfort.

    But for anyone that wants to make the trip room can be found at mine,
    dans, and mums. If you require somewhere to stay. ( just let us know)

    We will be planning a trip to London to scatter Nans ashes on the Scrubs across from her home in East Acton as she wished, later in the year, and I’m sure we will arrange something for people to attended there.

    We will be making a collection at the funeral for hand in hand a charity that my cousin Naomi is involved in. If you would like to make a donation before the funeral, please let me know I will give you my bank details and ensure your donation it’s added to the collection on the day.

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