Thursday, June 16, 2011

Janet Edwards Dunphy 1963-2011

My dear cousin Janet has passed away today after a long illness - she was just 47. My deepest sympathies go out to her sisters Barbara and Susan, and to her husband Paul. Janet lived in Toronto Canada, and I'm guessing I actually only met her less than 10 times. However, she and I kept up a correspondence via email and she was my main source of information about the Byrnes in Canada - all from my Mum's side of the family. Janet is my first cousin - daughter of my Mum's sister Catherine (Cathy to Canadians, Patsy to the Irish).

I have some fond memories of Janet. In addition to the many emails (which I've been reading over again this evening) I recall a wonderful evening with her, her sister Barbara, and cousin Lauralea in Ottawa in May 1998. We met in her apartment where Janet and Barbara performed "Time to say goodbye" - Janet loved music and was excellent on the piano. Later we went to the Laurier Hotel for dinner - lucky me with three pretty girls! It's wonderful that cousins who have spent a life apart can suddenly meet and strike up conversation about family. The next day I had lunch with Janet (and her friend Beth) in front of the Canadian Parliament building. She was so proud of Canada's democracy, and was a mine of information about the history of the parliament building.

Janet Edwards Dunphy (in white t-shirt) - 1995.
I scoured my photo collection this evening looking for photos of Janet and me - I found just one. This was taken in 1995 at my Mum and Dad's house in Ballingate, when Janet and Barbara were visiting Ireland. She looks so happy in the midst of her family - and this is how I will remember her. The baby in my arms is my daughter Vicki - who is now 16. Also in photo is Claire (at back), Kate (with football), and Barbara. 

Janet loved travel, and she entertained me with emails and photos about her and Paul's travels in places like China, Austria, St Johns, and the Czech Republic. I in turn bored her with details of my own travels. Our last few correspondences centred on our family tree - she provided me with many dates of birth and details for the tree (click here to see the tree). My last correspondence with her was to wish her well on her 7th wedding anniversary last August.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam  ("May her soul be on God's right side").


  1. What a wonderful tribute, to a truly beautiful girl. I am Janet's husband Paul's first cousin. I first met Janet when Paul brought her to the Atlantic Coast for their first visit. I knew immediately that she was a beautiful person, so filled with kindness, optimism, knowledge, just a very classy lady. We spent hours talking and very quickly bonded. Though my heart aches that she has left this world, I am relieved that she is no longer suffering. My heart goes out to Paul, and to all her family and friends who are suffering such a deep loss. Janet, my friend, may you now fly with the butterflies and sing with the angels. May you forever Rest in Peace. Margot xo

  2. I think of janet very is just a very sad time without her light in the world...