Ceara O’Mara Sullivan was born on May 26th, 1941, to Irish immigrant parents who had moved to the United States after the onset of World War Two. She died on June 17, 2019 in Charlottesville, Va.
She was christened Geraldine, a name which she disliked and changed to the Gaelic “Ceara” as soon as she was legally able to do so. She grew up in Florida before the advent of air conditioning, which featured largely in her desire to live in a place that had four seasons and where people wore sweaters in the wintertime.
Her childhood was more traumatic than most, leaving scars that would have killed weaker people. In 1961, she married Kevin J. Dyer, a marriage lasting 16 years. Those years saw the births of her first three children and the adoption of a fourth. She went to college for a spell and earned a BA, focusing on philosophy.
She passed her love of music, books and poetry onto her children. Like her mother before her, her kids could get away with a lot if they could make her laugh. She loved to laugh. Her intelligence and her sense of humor helped her survive. Her abilities to research obscure and difficult topics were legendary amongst the doctors and clerics she deigned to consult in her lifelong search for healing.
She married Edward “Ned” May in 1978 and the two of them settled in northern Buckingham. Her many and varied employment positions included social work at the Fluvanna County Department of Social Services; administrator at the Charlottesville Shelter for Help and Emergency; and running her own small business as a professional housecleaner. In both her professional life as well as in unpaid and volunteer capacities, she showed a great desire to serve both her community and society as a whole. Her goal was the betterment of life for all people, whether they wanted it or not.
Her hobbies and household activities reflected a wide array of interests. Cooking and gardening were her two favorite pastimes, and her prodigious writing ability complemented her great love of reading. She was, at various times to her friends and family, a combination of theologian, doctor, counselor, life coach, and personal cook. The people who knew her, as they mourn her death, also celebrate her existence and what she brought to their lives.
She is survived by her husband, Ned; her sons Jamie, Joseph, and William; and by her grandchildren Kara, Dennis, Christopher, Grace, John, Leigha, Geneva, and Liam and great-grandchildren Kiki, Elizabeth, Jacob, Page and Grace. She is predeceased by her daughter Shelagh, her brother Mark and her grandson Michael, as well as all of her ancestors. It should also be noted that this obituary was written against her express wishes but we did it anyway.
In lieu of flowers, donations to the Sexual Assault Resource Agency of Charlottesville are requested: http://saracville.org
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