VAL KEANE RIP
Val, our home, where you brought such love, will never
be the same.
We'll love and miss you forever.
Val Keane passed away on Wednesday 19 May 2004. Her funeral was
held at St Joseph's Church in West Brunswick on Monday morning 23
Val was a woman of substance. She was Christine's beautiful friend
and dearly loved second mother to the boys, Ruairí and Donnacadh
(Dinny). To my daughters she was always a great friend.
Val was my political ally and an inspiration to everyone who ever
entered the Wills Electoral Office, where I was the independent
federal member between 1992 and 1996.
Val, with the umbrella at Milltown Cemetery, Belfast with
her dearest friend Christine and Sinn Fein legend Jim Neeson
in April 1994.
Chris and Val waited in the car while I met Sinn Fein president
Val was a courageous, staunch, kind and abundantly talented woman.
From the time her cancer was diagnosed three years ago every visit
to the Doctor brought bad news. Yet never did she complain. I don't
know how she did it.
When I went on a parliamentary delegation in 1994 she joined me
and Christine. Unlike some friends of politicians, Chris and Val
paid their own way. For this she was able to sail on Rhine River,
visit her ancestral homeland of Ballylanders, drink porter on the
Dingle Peninsular and French Champagne in Dublin, and dine in a
Scottish castle. She deserved it.
The photos of this trip are so typical of Val. Nestled under the
lapel of her black coat is a little baby's head. The boy she showered
with love was always at her bosom. Up until she died Val played
cricket with him in the backyard and, before we lost her, wrote
a beautiful letter to him and Dinny. Those boys were so lucky.
When the cricket season ended, Val turned to football. At Windy
Hill she bought them both an Essendon jumper and a football. It's
so sad to have lost her.
The Pyramid Hill railway station with the train coming
in from the north.
On 1 April I accepted an invitation to speak at Boort Football
Club - arch-rival of Val's hometown of Wycheproof - on 25
Val's funeral was held on the Monday 24 May, the day before
I was scheduled to speak in Boort. It was one of a number
of unusual coincidences. On Tuesday I travelled by train,
as Val had done over the years, to Bendigo, then caught
a bus to Boort. On that day her family and her ashes travelled
the same route towards Wycheproof.
|Val at Wye River with Chris (seated), Eileen and Ruairi.
She loved it here.