Obituary of Carmel Margaret Neary
May 2, 1924 - Dublin, Ireland
August 12, 2022 - Calgary, Alberta
Carmel Neary (nee Farrington), beloved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother passed away on Friday, August 12, 2022, at the age of 98 years.
Carmel was born in Dublin, Ireland, the youngest of five siblings. She was raised in a home that proudly supported Irish sovereignty and she participated in Cumann na Mban and would make and sell peace lilies to support the cause.
Carmel was a very promising student and an eager learner, particularly skilled in math. She had to leave school at 14 years of age as there was not enough money at that time to continue her studies. This instilled a life-long love of reading and learning which she passed on to all of her children. She did an apprenticeship as a seamstress and worked at the Fifty Shilling Taylors sewing men’s trousers six days per week. Her job advanced to making US Army uniforms during the war and she would save the scraps of fabric to make herself new dresses for the weekly dances.
She loved to Irish dance and would go weekly to the dances where she met the love of her life, Gerald Neary who wooed her with his wit, charm and chocolate from his family’s shop when he wasn’t able to impress her with his dancing skills. They eventually married on August 7, 1950 and moved to a small house into which Gerald applied his DIY skills to make it a home.
Carmel and Gerald had two daughters, Shelagh and Dara, after the tragic loss of an infant son, Declan. They immigrated to Calgary, Canada in 1957 and two more daughters, Geraldine and Donna, were born. Although moving from Dublin to Calgary was difficult for her, ultimately Carmel adjusted with the support of having a large extended family and lots of sunshine which she would bask in whenever possible. They would go back and visit Ireland as often as possible and had a home there for many years after retirement where they could enjoy extended visits.
Carmel continued to have a love of her homeland and was a founding member of the Irish Cultural Society in Calgary. She was an active member of the Irish Choir and eagerly participated in many concerts, especially at Christmas and St. Patrick’s Day. She also continued her Irish dancing, bringing along Gerald and her daughters to maintain her very important Irish heritage.
Carmel was loved by family and friends for her joyful spirit, her hearty laugh and her bright smile. She made everyone feel loved by affectionately calling them “chicken”, pulling them in for a warm hug and offering them a cup of tea. She will be missed by many but never forgotten.
Carmel is survived by her daughters, Dara Neary, Geraldine Faith and Donna Neary; sons-in-law Murray Mikulak, Brendan Landers, Ken Faith and Michael O’Halloran; grandchildren, Sean Mikulak, Patrick Faith (Amanda), Kevin Mikulak (Alexandra), Julia O’Halloran Bartel (Taylor), Tyler Faith, Claire O’Halloran, Ethan Landers and Sinead O’Halloran; and five great-grandchildren, Oliver, Emery, Owen, Eleanor and Francis. Carmel was predeceased by her beloved husband of 68 years, Gerald Neary; her daughter, Shelagh Mikulak and her infant son, Declan Neary.
“When I die Dublin will be written in my heart.” James Joyce
Funeral Services will be held at McInnis & Holloway (Crowfoot, 82 Crowfoot Circle NW, Calgary, AB), on Thursday, August 25, 2022, at 2:00 p.m. Reception to follow in the Hospitality Centre at the Funeral Home. Condolences, memories, and photos may be shared and viewed here.
In living memory of Carmel Neary, a tree will be planted in the Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area by McInnis & Holloway Funeral Homes, Crowfoot, 82 Crowfoot Circle NW, Calgary, AB T3G 2T3, Telephone: 403-241-0044.