Catherine (Kay) Heary


  • 14th September (Virgo)


  • Music:  Christy Hennessey , Vienna Waltz – Strauss, Cuckoo Waltz, Tina Turner
  • Holiday: Cambriles, Salou
  • Golfer: Tiger Woods
  • Plants: Yellow Roses, Ash Tree

Moments of Pride:

  • Signing at Christmas Midnight Mass in St. Olivers Church Navan
  • Bringing up her family
  • Meeting President Mary McAleese



Life and Times

 The Early Years

      Catherine Heary also known as Kathleen or Kay, was born in Rose Cottage, Whistlemount, Kells Rd,   Navan to Annie and James Kelly. Her Father passed away six weeks after she was born.  She attended  Mercy Convent, Navan each day then enjoyed the freedom of the fields (especially climbing trees) near home.  Her connection to nature, trees especially, was something that only grew stronger as time went by.  Later in life some of her friends lovingly referred to her home as the plant hospital.


Working Life

When she finished school, Kay worked in Navan Carpets on the looms.  She went on to spend some time in London training as a nurse but unfortunately had to return home before she had the opportunity to complete her training.  She returned home to work in Clayton’s factory in Navan as a twister, a job which she enjoyed and thrived in.  Kay had different jobs later on, but her final job was the one she excelled in.

Having learned sign language through the Meath Deaf Association she was asked to teach transition year students in MercyConvent, Navan.  Word soon spread and she taught in many secondary schools in Meath over the coming years.

She combined her love of music and sign to teach in her own unique style  forming ‘choirs’ wherever she taught to increase fluency and bring an element of fun endearing her to her students.  She went on to teach adults in Meath VEC and VTOS.  In VTOS her easy ways allowed her to not only teach everyone sign, but to become a trusted alloy to students and teachers alike.



When Kay was only 14 she met the love of her life Richard (Dick) Heary at a dancehall in Beechmount. They married 8 years later, in March 1967. They had 5 children, however only 2 survived.  Her son and daughter were her pride and joy and anyone who knew her (and indeed sometimes those who didn’t!) listened to her gush as she spoke about Alan and Jacqui as if they were celebrities.  They all moved to Silverlawns in1992.  She and Dick shared the adventure of life together until he died in her arms at home in 2001.


Special Interests

Kay had varied interests over the years not least of which were flower arranging, knitting, all kinds of music and playing computer games.  She shared her love of dancing with Dick winning trophies along the way.

Her greatest passion was for pitch and putt.  Playing for Navan Pitch and Putt Club she won titles at county and regional level in singles, doubles and on teams as well as numerous opens throughout Ireland.  She was a cornerstone of the Meath Team for 18 years.  The annual charity competition she set up in Dick’s name continues to bring much needed funds to those in need.  Her sense of fair-play, supportive attitude to fellow players, and coaching of new players was an inspiration and something for which she was well respected.

Lady Captain Navan P&P


Kay was a loving wife and mother. A trusted and genuine friend.  A fun-loving person who had a way of making those around her feel important.  Kay shared herself with others unconditionally and in so doing impacted positively on the lives of all she came into contact with.  She will be sadly missed.


After battling illnesses for the last 2 years, Kay had her final heart attack on

5th December 2011


Please feel free to leave a comment or story about how you remember Kay in the comment box below

6 Responses to “Catherine (Kay) Heary”

  1. Alan Heary says:

    When mum passed away on the weeks leading into Christmas, people said that it was the saddest time for it to happen, but what they didn’t realise is that for mum this was the happiest time of the year.

    In fact she loved Christmas so much that we would sometimes have to endure listening to Christmas music and watching Christmas movies from September and to be honest I don’t think she would have had a better Christmas present than spending it with the man she spent so much of her life loving – our Dad.

    When I think of mum entering the big gates of Heaven I know that she was met with a choir of angels and I know for a fact that three things will have happened:
    1. She will tell them how amazing they are
    2. She will teach them to sign to the songs to make them extra special
    3. She will tell them all about Jacqui and Myself

    So don’t be sad that she passed away at Christmas, instead celebrate the amazing life of this amazing friend, wife and adoring mother.

    Cheers to you mum and Thank you for EVERYTHING!!!

  2. Eleanor Farrelly says:

    I feel very fortunate to have known Kay and priveleged to have had Kay as my teacher in VTOS. Kay was an incredible and wonderful lady who was always patient and encouraging with all the students, Kay’s passion for sign language was infectuous and I looked forward to my classes every wednesday. Kay was so proud of her class at the christmas party as we signed to Silent night and White Christmas.

    kay was my rock when my brother Thomas died last year, she taught me to sign to You’ll never walk alone in his memory and You raise me up. I was lucky to sign those songs to kay at the VTOS bbq last summer on her retirement, it was the best tribute that I could pay to my teacher and friend.

    Kay was so proud of Alan and Jacqui, she was always singing their praises. I have never met a person with such capacity for love as Kay, she saw the very best in everyone.

    Kay will be missed by all who knew her but she lives on in our hearts. when I hear those songs she taught me I can’t help but sign to them.

    kay You raise me up
    God bless
    my love always

  3. Roisin says:

    Kay was a fab person, I have many fond memories of kay coming to our house rescuing our plant life here.. she had such a gift with plants and flowers.. she always knew what to do.
    My last memory of kay was in her house she wasn’t feeling very well on this day, but always managed a cuppa and a smile, she was so full of chat.
    Kay was a great mother and friend to Jacqui and Alan, she will always be remembered for her kindness to everyone.. I miss her, and i know her family do, My mam who passed away before kay, was a good friend of kay’s.
    I can only imagine them both joking around up there in heaven. having a fag and a cuppa. love and miss ye both. xxx

  4. Joe Reilly says:

    A lady who married a gentleman

  5. Elaine Muldowney says:

    Aunty Kathleen was a huge part of my life as a child. She gave me so much love, and I always felt like I was part of the family. I think of her very often now especially as I have my own children, and not a day goes by that some memory of her or something she said pops into my head. I know that her kindness and love have earned her a place in Heaven, and I look forward to seeing her again some day. XXX

  6. Myles an Amanda kavanagh says:

    What a wonderful lady to meet she brought love and happens to everyone she met

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