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Teresa Conway death: A respected businesswoman and dedicated homemaker

By Alf McCreary

Mrs Teresa Conway, who died recently, was a well-known businesswoman in Cookstown, and the mother of a large family. She was 88.

As Teresa McDonald, she was born into a very different world from today – the fifth of sixth children of Joseph and Catherine McDonald.

In her youth she was a talented needlewoman and she regularly helped her elder sister Ellie with dressmaking. However, her ambition was to train as a nurse, but these plans changed when she met her future husband Gerry in 1947.

Two years later they were married, and this began a lifelong partnership during which they had 10 children and also ran a number of successful businesses in Cookstown.

Their first venture was a successful news agency and grocery store in Chapel Street.

Teresa and her husband also acquired a news agency and home-bakery business in Molesworth Street in the 1950s.

She was a natural entrepreneur, and acquired the Chip Restaurant in Loy Street from her brother-in-law Gerry. Within a short period she turned an already successful business into a thriving restaurant. Despite her family commitments she worked long and unsociable hours to cater for late night customers.

The family's businesses continued to prosper, and in the mid-Seventies Teresa and Gerry acquired a chemist's shop in the town centre, turning it into another successful and modern restaurant.

In their later lives Teresa and Gerry took a break from business and travelled widely. They went on a safari to Kenya and also holidayed in the Caribbean. However, it was not until her mid-seventies that Teresa achieved one of her ambitions which was to see the Statue of Liberty. When she discovered that the lift was broken on the day of her visit, she climbed up the 354 steps herself.

She also visited the Pyramids in Egypt and in later life she learned how to drive, fish, swim and fly a microlite plane.

Sadly, however, she experienced much personal loss. Her husband Gerry died in 1986, as did her son Paul three years later, and her daughter Ann in 2008.

She is survived by eight of her children, 28 grandchildren, and large wider family.

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