Thursday 21 February 2019

Grandfather found dead a month after losing three relatives in road horror

Mary Ann and Marcella Wilson, who died in Mayo last month
Mary Ann and Marcella Wilson, who died in Mayo last month

A heartbroken grandfather has died just weeks after his wife, daughter and grandson were killed in a road smash.

Joseph Wilson, who was in his 70s and better known as Josie, died suddenly at his home in Cross in Belmullet, Co Mayo, on Wednesday.

It came exactly a month after he lost wife Mary Ann, daughter Marcella and grandson Sean (7) in the accident.

The three generations were travelling on the N17 near Claremorris at around 1pm on September 11 when their Citroen collided with a truck coming in the opposite direction.

Marcella, who was in her 40s, was driving Mary Ann, who was in her 70s, to a hospital appointment in Galway. It's thought they were only travelling by car after missing their bus.

At the time of the tragedy, a neighbour of the Wilson family spoke fondly of Josie.

"It's good that his grandchildren are in his home with him," she said. "They took his mind away from everything, and he assured them he would be there for them."

Josie's funeral mass took place yesterday afternoon at St Joseph's Church, in Binghamstown. The community turned out in force to bid farewell to the popular local man.

Father John Loftus conducted the ceremony before the burial in Cross Cemetery.

A close family friend said the tight-knit community has been devastated by the tragedy.

The friend, who did not want to be named, told the Herald: "Josie was a lovely, decent, hard-working family man.

"He was absolutely distraught after what had happened to Mary Ann, Marcella and Sean.

"Nobody can believe what has happened, to have a whole family wiped out in just a few weeks is unbelievable. They will be sadly missed." The friend said this is the fourth tragedy for the area in just a year.

Belmullet woman Majella Donoghue (30) died suddenly last November on her way back from a dream holiday in South Africa, where she had got engaged.

And Irish Coast Guard Rescue 116 helicopter crew Captain Dara Fitzpatrick, Captain Mark Duffy, Ciaran Smith and Paul Ormsby were killed in March, when their helicopter crashed near Blackrock Island.


"This area has had an awful turn of events lately. It just seems to be one thing after another," the friend said.

A death notice for Josie read: "He will be sadly missed by his heartbroken family, sons Michael, Noel, John and daughter Annette, grandchildren, great-grandchild, daughters-in-law, son-in-law, brothers, sisters, his extended family, relatives and many friends."

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