Mary Fances Magee was one of a family of seven three boys and four girls. Her parents must have had great faith to bring up seven children on a teacher's salary. But it was always obvious to those who knew Mary that it was a very united family, with a great love of both parents and for each other.
She trained in Trinity College, Dublin, and Kildare Street, and taught in Birr National School, and in Malahide, with her father, before moving to the secondary area, as principal of Celbridge College, and as a teacher in Masonic School.
Obviously, and luckily for us, the call of the national school was stronger, and she arrived in Greystones in 1972, where she was to remain for the rest of her career. She also took another great step in her life when she married Pearse. To all of us who know them it was obviously a loving union of minds and hearts.
Mary was a person of many varied interests, and an avid reader, especially of poetry, a lover of the theatre, a superb gardener the beautiful garden at her home is a testimony to that. It was also apparent to me and became more and more so over the years as I worked with her, that the strong bond between church and school was very important to her. Month after month and year after year she would prepare her pupils for reading and participating in church services, whether directly related to the school or not. I know that it came from the strength of her own personal Christian faith, and her loyalty to her church.
As a teacher she was a professional to her fingertips I would suspect from her constant references to him much of it carried from father for whom she had a tremendous love and respect.
Her devotion to the interests of her pupils was untiring coming in early in the morning to check "their work, help them with corrections, and prepare them for scholarship examinations, or to try to encourage the weaker pupils. Even holding classes in her dining room when she had broken her foot.
She was a person with a great breadth of interests, a great love of Irish culture and language, and a very wide knowledge and that was something which she tried to inculcate in her pupils, encouraging them in their reading, and their search for knowledge. It is so apt that the new library has been dedicated to her memory, though I am not so sure what she would make of the CDRom She was a person of many sides often stern and demanding when she had to be, but she also had that pastoral ability to communicate, sometimes very lovingly and tenderly, with the smallest child.
She faced many changes, as the school expanded, moved to its new home, expanded again, changed its structure of management, and yet all of it she faced with a youthful ability to adapt and change and absorb new ideas and cope with new situations.
Mary has left a great legacy behind in the many generations of children whom she taught and influenced. We all feel the loss at her premature and sudden departure from us. But we know that her loving and close knit family circle feels a particular loss.
We offer our sympathy to Pearse and the other members of the family. May she rest in the peace of the Christ whom she so faithfully served.