Irene Hynds mourners hear glowing tribute to 'extremely highly regarded' teacher
Mourners at the funeral of a popular teacher have heard how the community has lost one of its "most vibrant and enthusiastic disciples".
Irene Hynds, the assistant principal at St Mary's Grammar School in Magherafelt, died on Monday aged 50 after a two-year battle with illness.
The school closed to allow pupils to attend the service at Church of Our Lady of the Assumption in the south Co Londonderry town yesterday.
Fr John Gates told mourners: "St Mary's has lost an extremely highly regarded and esteemed colleague who brought such humour, joy and positivity to all she did. Many of us feel we have lost a good and loyal friend.
"Irene was an RE teacher in St Mary's and she didn't see her role as just achieving the best grades possible for her students.
"She taught them how the word of God impacted on their lives and over the years many of the students have acknowledged this and told her that they always remembered what she taught them."
Fr Gates said Mrs Hynds' devotion to school extended to extra-curricular activities, including its religious services.
He added: "This gave her the opportunity to collaborate with the parish clergy, who held her in high regard and appreciated her sterling efforts in this sphere.
"She helped out with all the musicals, enjoyed trips abroad and possibly one of her favourite events over the years was the school fashion show as it gave her the chance to sparkle as the host for the evening.
"I have always believed that the mark of a person is in how they deal with adversity, suffering and trial and on that score Irene got an A+.
"I spent an hour with her last Friday when she spoke of her impending death, her funeral, her life, her faith. A precious conversation I have no doubt I found more difficult than Irene.
"She said her faith was the greatest support she had and that she knew her work on this earth was over and that God now wanted her back for a new role.
"Leaving her loved ones was difficult but she knew that she would always be close to them to enable them to cope with her loss.
"She said she would not want to change one thing about her life but would do it all again, she loved every minute. To me that says it all and sums up the sort of person Irene was."
Mrs Hynds (nee Toye) was born and raised in Rosslea, Co Fermanagh, and took up her first temporary teaching post in the RE department at St Mary's Magherafelt in 1990.
A year later she was made permanent and she spent her 27-year teaching career at the school.
Fr Gates said: "Irene rose through the ranks and eventually became assistant principal, a role which meant she had more interaction with the parents - and so many parents have acknowledged the contribution that Irene made to the lives of their children. She could wish for no finer a tribute."
Irene, who lived in Ballyronan, Co Londonderry, is survived by her husband Seamus, son Daniel, parents Jim and Susan, brothers Jim and Eugene and sister Geraldine.
Following the service she was laid to rest in the cemetery of St Tierney's Church in Rosslea.