Catherine Mary Humphreys
1924 - 2014 - A service of thanksgiving and a celebration of the life of Catherine Mary Humphreys of Delfryn, Llansantffraid, took place at St Tysilio’s Church, Llandysilio on Tuesday 15th July 2014, following her death on 5th July aged 90 years. Mary was the wife of the late Ernest Humphreys of Gwern-y-Beilliad, Four Crosses where they farmed for many years before retirement and brought up their three sons Edward, Robert and David.
Mary was born at Manor Farm Crew Green in January 1924, the youngest of five children of James and Mary Phillips. She was educated at Llandrinio primary school before leaving school at thirteen years of age to work on the family farm.
As a young girl Mary showed talent in music and travelled to Wrexham for formal singing lessons. She was a regular performer as a soprano soloist at local concerts. She also performed for the local Coedway amateur dramatic society. In the late 1940s she joined the Four Crosses and District Choral Society, based at Llandysilio Church where she met her future husband Ernest Humphreys.
Ernest and Mary were married in 1955 at Alberbury Church, and she became Mary Humphreys of Gwern-y-Beilliad Farm, Llandysilio. Together they shared a loving marriage of just short of fifty years and made a success of their business as tenants of a small farm on the edge of the Montgomeryshire uplands. She and Ernest were part of a generation that had come through the 1930s depression and the Second World War and set out to make a better life for themselves. That included a commitment to education, which they passed on to their three sons, and to the National Health Service.
Mary was far more than a housewife. She played her full part in the hard physical work on the land, and with livestock, at Gwern-y-Beilliad. She was a superb cook, using produce from her own garden and meat from livestock reared on the farm, and made Gwern-y-Beilliad a warm and welcoming home. She reared, dressed and sold geese at Shrewsbury market at Christmas time. She was a skilled streamstress, making her own dresses until well in her fifties.
Mary and Ernest made many friendships based on farming, the Church, and their shared interest in music. Mary was an active member of Llandysilio Church, where Ernest was organist for seventy years. She was a member of the Mothers' Union and regularly decorated the church interior with floral arrangements. In the late 1960s and 1970s Mary was a singer and soloist, and Ernest the accompanist, of Penrhos Ladies Choir and they enjoyed travelling around mid-Wales and the borders to perform.
Mary thrived on being a mother, and later a grandmother and great-grandmother. She followed the progress of her grandchildren Matthew, Bethan, Rowenna and Rosa - and more recently her great-grandchildren - with huge interest and pride.
Mary was a true child of the borders. Her father's family was from Bronington in the old detached part of Flintshire, her mother's from the Montgomeryshire-Shropshire border. She married into a centuries-old Montgomeryshire family and lived her adult life on the slopes of, and later within sight of, Bryn Mawr, Llandysilio. Mary placed great stress on being a good neighbour. Decency, straight-dealing and kindness were important to her. She and Ernest were highly respected locally and within the wider Montgomeryshire farming community. She will be greatly missed by her family and friends.
There was a very large attendance at the funeral service which was conducted by The Reverend Evelyn Davies. The organist was Russell Jones. The bearers were Matthew Humphreys, Richard Lewis, Darren Lindup and Gary Price.
Family mourners were Edward, Robert and David, sons; Catrin, daughter in law; Matthew and Rowenna, grandchildren; and Katy Watkins. A eulogy was read by Mary's niece, Jean Lewis of Llandrinio.
Floral tributes were by the family only. Donations of £770 were divided between Llandysilio Church and Victoria Memorial Hospital, Welshpool.
Thanks : The family of Mary Humphreys are grateful for the sympathy and condolences received following their sad loss and for the support of neighbours and friends. They wish to express sincere thanks to the staff of Welshpool hospital who provided great care and kindness to Mary at the end of her life. The family greatly appreciate the care and consideration shown by Mr Robert Hughes and staff of I Jackson and Sons.
Published in the County Times on Fri 22 Aug 2014