Rosaleen Imelda Clearkin [nee Mooney] was born on 13th of November 1926 in Cabra near Lough Egish (the lake of the learned man) County Monaghan, Ireland.
rosaleen imelda clearkin
Her long and happy life could have ended then, when the thatched roof of the cottage where she was sleeping in her crib caught fire. One of her brothers had the presence of mind to throw her into her mother’s arms through the window of the burning house.
She was educated at Shane National School, then St Louis Convent, before she started her nurse training. There she made life-long friendships.
After qualification, she worked in Ireland before moving, like so many others of her generation, to England. First to Rochdale for general nursing training then midwifery training in Hospitals in Lancashire and Derbyshire.
She had planned to then “take the veil” and enter a religious order to work as a missionary in Africa.
All that changed when she met her future husband Philip Clearkin - also from County Monaghan. They married in Ireland, honeymooned at Blackrock and settled in Liverpool where she worked as a district midwife.
Her early career meant cycling to the women she was caring for, and when “on call” she would be summoned in the early hours of the morning to attend deliveries. The bicycle’s panniers would contain a “gas and air” cylinder and controlled drugs. She memorised where the nearby telephone boxes were and kept coins to call the obstetric “flying squad” if labour did not progress as planned.
Domiciliary deliveries later fell from fashion and her work changed to the no less important field of pre- and post-delivery care as well as work in natural family planning and infertility.
She was the mother to five children, enjoyed music, dancing and retained her interest in Irish culture – she had a Gold Fáinne as a fluent Gaelic speaker - as well as finding time for voluntary work including CAFOD and The Thalidomide Society.
Following her husband Philip’s death, she moved to Wirral in 1998 to be nearer her children and 13 grandchildren who’s day-to-day lives she supported. She worked as a Eucharistic Minister and had a wide circle of friends.
Her latter years were marked with increasing infirmity from osteoporosis and arthritis which she bore stoically. When her terminal adenocarcinoma of the stomach came to light she was cared for by her daughters and expertly managed by her local hospitals then domiciliary palliative care services.
She maintained her independence and died peacefully at her home on Sunday 30 October 2016 surrounded by her family.