Nurse with passion for helping others

Mary McGrane
Mary McGrane

Mary McGrane, who has died aged 88, spent a lifetime in nursing, a profession about which she was passionate.

Mary, who lived on the Tandragee Road, Portadown, began her career studying midwifery in the City Hospital in Belfast. Some time later, after working as a midwife, she became a theatre sister in Lurgan Hospital.

In 1972, she was sent to St Thomas’s Hospital in London for specialist training with their trauma unit and returned home to work as a nursing officer in charge of accident and emergency, intensive care and outpatients in the new Craigavon Hospital.

Mary remained in Craigavon Hospital until her retirement in 1987.

During this time and throughout her whole career, she was renowned for her professionalism, kindness and infectious, upbeat nature as well as her inspiration and constant encouragement of her staff to further their own career development.

Mary was born on February 6, 1927, the second oldest of five siblings to her parents Mary and John McGrane.

She began her education in Mullavilly PS and continued her secondary education with the Louis Order of Sisters, firstly in Middletown and then in Kilkeel.

After her retirement, Mary became involved with a number of charities and cross-community groups including Protestant and Catholic Encounter (PACE), the Consumer Council for NI, the NI Forum for Women, Catholic Nurses Guild, the Board of Governors of Drumcree College, cosmetic camouflage with the Red Cross and, more recently, Save the Children.

Her charity work was recognised with trips to Hillsborough Castle and Buckingham Palace and Mary was also nominated for Carer of the Year by family friend Rosemary Haze.

She is remembered most fondly by her nephews and nieces for her New Year parties and her famous excursions in the yellow Fiat 127 to Cushendall, Bettystown and further afield.

As well as a love of family and caring for people, Mary also had a passion for art and was a member of an amateur art club in Ashgrove Community Centre. She brought colour and flair to life and to everyone she met.

Mary died peacefully in Rosemount Care Home on September 22. She was predeceased by her three brothers, Monsignor John, Peter and Brian, and is survived by her sister Joan, her sisters-in-law Betty and Maureen, 12 nephews and nieces and her 37 grand-nephews and nieces.

Mary’s month’s mind mass will be celebrated in the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Mullavilly this Sunday at 10am.