Country and western superstar Daniel O’Donnell led the musical interludes at the Memorial Mass for his father-in-law Tom Roche and his sister Eleanor (Brach) at the Cathedral of the Assumption in Thurles yesterday (Friday).
Daniel, who had rushed to Thurles from his home in Donegal where his mother is gravely ill, performed with the choir in Thurles Cathedral in an emotion filled Concelebrated ceremony for his wife Majella’s father, and her aunt, both of whom died in the final weeks of 2013. Tom died in Tenerife and Eleanor died in Florida.`
Daniel was joined by Majella as they sang together at Communion and entertainer Paddy Cole also performed on clarinet - he was a personal friend of Majella’s father.
Tom and Eleanor Roche hailed from Thurles before they moved away to Galway, Dublin and then Tenerife; and Buffalo and Florida respectively. Both returned ‘home’ to their place of birth where their ashes were scattered in a private ceremony after the Memorial Mass which took place in the same Cathedral in which both were Baptised.
A large attendance heard of Tom Roche’s love of golf, boxing, cycling and musical theatre having involved himself in all of the disciplines in Thurles as a young man, while his sister Eleanor, who moved to Buffalo as a twenty year old, had a keen business sense and succeeded in establishing a very successful company in Florida.
Family members fought back tears as their life and times were recalled and Daniel, who had been in the choir loft for most of the ceremony, joined his wife, and comforted her, for final prayers and commendation.
Majella, who has been battling cancer, and had endured a public shaving of her hair on The Late Late Show to raise funds for the Irish Cancer Society, met many of her old friends and neighbours who came to offer their sympathies on the day.