John Kevin McLaughlin
John Kevin McLaughlin
Born: 3rd June 1938
Died: 8th May 2013
Kevin McLaughlin was born in Church Road, Cardonagh on the 3rd June 1934
His mother was Sheila McGlinchey (formerly from the Plantation house in Umricam, Buncrana)
His father was Dan McLaughlin (Hatter) from Carndonagh. Dan was a bus driver for the Lough Swilly Buses. His main run was the Malin head to Carndonagh route.
Kevin was the eldest of six children
His siblings are:
Joan Lindsay – 1940 – 13 June 2008
Danny McLaughlin – 1941 – 27th Oct 2014
Colm McLaughlin – 1942
Cathal McLaughlin – 1945
Leo McLaughlin – 1948 – Died 1st May 2010
His parents were known as the happiest couple in Carndonagh. When they built their house in Church Road in Carndonagh, Dan stencilled a flower arrangement in the concrete leading to the steps to the house so that Sheila always had flowers when she came home.
Kevin was only 11 when his father passed away. Kevin and his brother Colm, when they were old enough decided to move to Harroage North Yorkshire to start learning their trades as carpenters. They realised that life would be much better for the family in Harrogate, so they convinced Sheila to leave Carndonagh with the remaining 4 children and begin a new life in Harrogate. She was a wise lady and didn’t sell the house, just in case she needed to come back.
Kevin would travel over and back from Donegal on his holidays. His first cousin Sheila O’Brien (daughter of Annie McGlinchey), who was best friends with Alice McNutt. Kevin and Alice began their courtship and their romance blossomed.
Born: 19th January 1934
Died: 25th July 2018
Alice was born on Friday 19th January 1934 to Sam and Margaret McNutt (nee O’Donnell) and was the youngest child of four, her siblings being Molly, James and Ellen. Sam and Molly are buried in this very churchyard further down. As Sam was married twice he was buried with his parents. James and Ellen also rest in the same grave as Kevin & Alice.
Her mum, Margaret died of TB when Alice was just 10 years old. Alice was then sent to live with her grandmother down the ‘Pound Lane’. When her grandmother passed away, Alice then she moved up to the top of the ‘Pound Lane’ to live with her Auntie ‘Lizzie’ O’Donnell and her family. Molly stayed in Ardravan to look after their dad, Sam.
When Alice was old enough, she worked in McCarters factory where she met her life-long friend Sheila O’Brien. Sheila introduced Alice to her 1st cousin Kevin, was living in Harrogate, North Yorkshire but would travel to Buncrana at holiday time. Their romanced blossomed and they enjoyed many a dance in the Plaza. Kevin proposed to Alice at the stone bridge at the foot of Mamore Gap.
Alice and Kevin married on the 30th July 1963 at St Mary’s Church in Cockhill and then they both set off on their adventure to begin their married life in Harrogate, North Yorkshire.
Daniel Kevin was born on the 2nd Nov 1964. Samuel Paul on 23 February 1966. Sadly Paul passed away on the 27th April 1968 when he died during an operation to treat internal obstruction. He is buried in Stonefall Cemetery in Harrogate (Grave number 5055). Alice was 7 ½ month pregnant at the time. Alice went into early labour with Pauline when Paul was buried on the 1st May, but luckily they managed to stop the labour and allow Alice to carry to full term.
Six weeks later, Pauline Marie was born on the 10th June 1968 in the hallway of Harrogate General Hospital. Alice didn’t make it on time to the maternity ward as Kevin was busy watching the Bobby Kennedy funeral on TV and he left it to the very last minute to take Alice to the hospital.
In 1970 Sharon Margaret was born in the posh hospital. I’m sure this was Alice’s way of getting Kevin back for having Pauline born in the hallway so she got the first class treatment when Sharon was born on the 13th May 1970.
In the summer of 1970, Alice missed Buncrana a lot, that they decided to move back to Ireland. It was a tough decision to leave Paul behind but they knew it was the best thing for the family. Harrogate was Paul’s home so they decided to let him stay there. They moved into Kevin’s home in Church Road, Carndonagh. Kevin surprised Alice one day and told he bought a site to build their home together. Alice was so happy to find that the site was directly across the road from her family home in Ardravan Buncrana where Molly her sister lived with her husband Oweny along with her father Sam. Alice had finally come home.
Kevin started to build St Pauls Ardravan Buncrana. His brother Colm and Kevin drew the plans of the house in 1 night. I think he was just anxious to get started on building his own home for his family. Barney Griffen dug the foundations and he was so nice to the children and often took them up on his digger. Kevin himself built the house. He drafted in Raymond McGlinchey (Sheila’s O Briens husband) to help do the roof. Oweny Barr was the only man allowed to plaster the house as he was the best in the town. Kevin did all the electrical and plumbing work. A plumber he was not (more on than later!).
Everything was perfect. They finally moved into their home in 1973. We all remember the day we moved into St Pauls. Kevin stopped at the lakes at the Mencha’s to allow the girls to pick foxgloves to put in vase for their new home.
In 1974, Kathryn Mary was born in Letterkenny General Hospital, their 5th and last child. Alice spent hours curling Kathryn’s hair with a long handled comb. Their family now completed.
However even though they had left Harrogate the whole family went back every year to buy flowers for Paul in the Arcade in Harrogate. They had lovely holidays there going to Harewood House, Fountains Abbey, Ripon to hear the town hornblower and much more, and Sheila’s (Kevin’s Mum) was never far behind with a picnic basket filled with pork pies and cold beans and a big flask of tea.
Life was good to Kevin and Alice for the next 30 years. Kevin worked hard and developed his career and became a Contruction Studies lectured in the Regional Technical College in Letterkenny and he worked there until he retired in 2003.
Kevin would often build plans for the people in Buncrana. During the Celtic Tiger years in the 1990’s, Kevin was very busy and would often work late into the night drawing plans.
They travelled the world. Alice loved her tennis and visited Australia for the Open, in 1996, London for Wimbledon and New York for the Open. She loved to go and see the play Miss Saigon and would get tickets to see it in cities all over the world.
Kevin enjoyed his trip to New York on Concorde. He was a mathematical man and decided to fly from New York to London on Concorde as it calculated he would be on Concorde about 8 minutes longer if he flew NYC to LON rather than LON to NYC. He wanted the whole experience to last as long as possible, so every minute was valuable.
Kevin’s brother Colm owned a house in Torrevieja in Spain. They loved it there so much and went out almost every year they could. Dad would walk down to the Marina and Alice would sit on the promenade as she started to suffer breathing difficulties, although she never let her illness stop her love of travelling and sunshine, musicals and tennis tournaments.
From 1999, they would often go over to London to visit their daughter Pauline who by this stage had 2 children, Shona (1999) and John Dylan (2002). Their grandchildren were their pride and joy. Kevin would walk them along the River Thames or out by Great Windsor Park, and Alice would be out at the shops, clearing the shelves with children clothes. Pauline can categorically say she never had to buy a sock for her children when they were young as Alice has her stocked up in all age groups.
Sharon then had her little boy Silas in 2009, which was great to have a grandchild in Ireland. Kathryn then had James in 2010. Kevin would be out walking these boys round by Neds Point and further to Father Hegartys Rock. He was known in Buncrana as the “Man with the Pram”. Everyone who met him would say he was always pushing a pram.
Alice breathing difficulties started to slow her down, but Kevin stepped in and became her carer. In Feb 2012, Kevin started to have breathing difficulties too, and he was diagnosed in May 2012 with Mesothelioma. A lung cancer caused by working with asbestos. Kevin only remembers cutting 1 piece of Asbestos in Harrogate around 1960. A simple act which he would pay dearly with.
On the 8th May at 18:20, the GREAT man John Kevin McLaughlin passed away surrounded by his family just short of 6 weeks of celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. But Kevin had not forgotten. He had commissioned a beautiful necklace with a solitaire diamond to match the commissioned ring he had made for Alice for their 40th wedding anniversary. Their children presented Alice with her necklace on what was to be their 50th wedding anniversary with love from Kevin.
Alice was made of a different ilk of most women. Her family all thought with her poor health and the passing of Kevin that she too would not last very long. She would prove us all wrong. After Kevin’s passing, Alice had a great circle of friends and great neighbors close to her. Her best friends, Sheila O’Brien and Mary Bradley were always there for Alice. Every Wednesday and Saturday night they were out, where the three of them became well known in in every restaurant around Buncrana. They soon earned their title of ‘The Golden Girls’.
Alice would still travel to London to see Shona and John and had another trip back to Spain. She would carry all her Oxygen with her and would not let nothing stop her from living her life. When Alice’s condition deteriorated and she was no longer able to go socializing with the girls, Mary and Sheila were a rock of support for her. They visited her and gave her a good quality of life and connection with others despite her illness. They brought the Craic to her at home, ensuring that she was never left out. Later on, the time came when Alice would need a little help about the house, and Marian (Porter) came to help Alice every morning and over the years she became a very special person in Alice’s life and a great friend to her till the very end.
Just up to late in 2017, it came to pass that Alice needed 24 hour care. It was then that Pauline McDaid (or Pauline # 1 after Alice demoted her own daughter to Pauline #2” position) helped take care of Alice during the day. Many the day Alice’s children, who were out, working hard, trying to earn a living got many photo messages of Pauline # 1 and Alice tucked up in bed, both for their mid-morning nap together. Susan Crossan, then came on board in the evening time being a great friend, cleaner, cook, hairdresser, Make-up artist and tea & toast maker all in one.
Frances, Margery and Barbara who stayed with Alice at night, all ensured that Alice could stay at home in her own bed which was so important for her.
Margaret Sweeney (Mollys Daughter) came every day to Alice which gave her the continued connection to her beloved sister Molly.
Elizbeth O’Hare would come every week with cakes galore and gave her the connection back to her childhood home down the Pound Lane. T
Tracey Bradely (nee McGlichey, daughter of Sheila O’Brien & Raymond McGlinchey (Derry), her God daughter who showered her with love allowed Alice to give her a good lecture now an again.
They all indeed became Golden Girls.
Alice had a genuine love for all these girls and they returned that true love with the time, patience and care that they gave her until the very end.
Alice’s children – Kevin, Pauline, Sharon & Kathryn can never repay these people for their love and devotion to Alice. They will be forever grateful to them for looking after Mum, allowing them to continue their own work but most of all, we thank Kevin and Alice for being our parents. They loved us dearly and that is something we always knew and will always remember.
Alice quietly passed away on 25th July 2018 at 06:20am surrounded by her 4 children.
After Alice’s passing, Pauline, Sharon & Kathryn continued to fund raise for the Irish Cancer Society to support the nurses to care & support to families during the last few weeks of life. Their care and support were absolutely vital to the gentle and calm passing of Kevin & Alice. Donations to this charity can be made via https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mclaughlingirls
Thank you for reading and sparing a moment to Remember those in this grave.
Please say a little prayer..
Other members within this grave are:
Margaret McNutt (nee O Donnell) 27th Dec 1943 (pictured)
James McNutt c1929 – Died 1st June 1940 (TB)
Ellen McNutt – 1929 – Died 7th November 1956 (TB)
Tom O’Donnell & Ellen (nee McGinley)
Jim & Jane O’Donnell