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Kathleen Snavely on her 113th birthday. Photograph courtesy Laurie Black

Ireland’s oldest woman dies

FEAKLE native, Kathleen Hayes Rollins Snavely, Ireland’s longest-lived person, passed away yesterday (Monday) morning in Geddes, Syracuse, New York State.

Born Kathleen Hayes, one of five children of Patrick and Eileen Hayes in Feakle, on February 16, 1902, she travelled from Cobh on the Sythia as a 19 year-old in 1921 to Syracuse, was married and widowed twice, helped to build successful dairy and lumber businesses and had been living in the Centers at St. Camillus, a retirement home in Geddes, Syracuse since suffering a fall when she was 102 years old.

Kathleen lived for 113 years and 140 days and on March 26 this year, moved past Annie Scott – who’d died in 1996, at the age of 113 and 37 days – to become the longest-lived person, ever, from Ireland.

Former Feakle National School principal Ted Harrington received the news from Kathleen’s nephew Gerry Hayes last night, “Kathleen had been ill for the past three weeks with a respiratory infection. Her nephew Gerry was out to see her in April and he kept us in touch. She was in fine form in April, very alert, but unfortunately she got a respiratory infection and was taken to hospital about three weeks ago before returning to the retirement home in Syracuse.

“Kathleen was born in the village of Feakle so we marked the occasion by putting a plaque on the wall of the building she was born in on last Friday evening. Three of her close relatives were also here on the night, nephews Paddy and Gerry Hayes and her niece Helen Taggert, children of Kathleen’s brother Martin,” Mr Harrington said.
Ron Kirwan

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