She was the kind of person who, once encountered, was never forgotten. People who had met her only briefly would say to me; “How’s your friend Felicity?” Tall, attractive, a dynamic individual, Felicity Stewart made an immediate impact; her colourful personality displayed not only in her choice of flamboyant clothing but so, too, her hair was always changing colour from natural pale red to a variety of bottled shades.
Until, of course, it all fell out from continuing chemotherapy treatment. But did that faze Felicity? Not at all. Instead came out a stream of colourful scarves that she wound like a turban around her head. Her style was not about to be discommoded by the effects of cancer; instead she made it a fashion statement.
Felicity was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2007 and until her passing little over two years later in January 2010, she was the embodiment of a person living with cancer. It was part of her life; not the potential end of it. Such was her courage, her fortitude and enduring strength, pain was something she learned to live with, and never once did I hear her say; “Why me?” Cancer is a bummer, she would say. And when she had her off days, she would keep to herself, sometimes all day in bed, and wait until she was ready to take on the world again.
Born in Carlow, Felicity spent some of her early childhood in Africa where here father was a vet, and lived much of her adult life in Dublin before moving to Galway in 2002 with her daughter Katy. Felicity worked in the classified ads department of the Galway Advertiser, where she quickly became popular with her colleagues. She also hosted foreign students here studying English.
But Felicity’s talents gave her a wider stage as a professional actress and an accomplished pianist. She had performed in children’s theatre for many years, and later in Galway she and renowned singer/actress Honor Heffernan teamed up to stage a theatre dinner show in the late Camelot Restaurant, in Dominick Street. And Felicity’s talents live on, as her daughter Katy has inherited her mother’s acting and musical abilities, having appeared in several GYT productions.
Felicity Stewart will long be remembered by the multitude of friends she made throughout her lifetime, a life that was cut short far too soon at the age of 54, but her spirit lives on in the memories of all those who knew and loved her. And I will always be thankful to her because through her I met my husband.
Felicity is survived her daughter Katy, her mother Joyce Nelson, her brothers Hamish and Rory and sister Tessa, and nieces and nephews. The removal service takes place on Friday, 8 January at 3-4.30pm in Conneely’s Funeral Home, Flood Street, followed by a Church of Ireland funeral service at 5pm in St Nicholas’ Collegiate Church. Cremation is on Saturday at 2pm in Mount Jerome Cemetery, Dublin.
As a mark of respect, the Galway Advertiser offices in Eyre Square will close at 3pm tomorrow, Friday.
— Barbara McKeon