AN OLD Kilpatrick resident whose eyes could “light up a room” has passed away at the age of 96.

The Post previously featured Mary Devitt after her former home manager stole £2,500 from her savings in 2018. Mary’s confidence had been hit by the callous thief whom Mary had considered her friend.

Mary moved to the village when she was 90 and only let her hair go grey when she hit 95.

Niece Janice Hall praised the care given to Mary in her last months at the Castle View care home in Dumbarton.

The pandemic lockdown meant she hadn’t been able to visit her aunt since March 11, but staff helped connect the family through video messages.

Although Mary was tested for Covid-19 after having a slight temperature, she was confirmed as negative. In the past year, she had increasingly lived with vascular dementia and bouts of skin cancer.

Janice told the Post: “It was really sad because we couldn’t get to see her for eight weeks.

“I never thought March 11 was going to be the last time I saw her.

“The staff were fantastic with Mary. I knew she would be fine there. She still had a sense of humour and was a lovely wee soul.”

Clydebank Post: Mary Devitt, 95, at home in Old Kilpatrick

Born Mary McNeill in Co Cavan on July 22, 1923, Mary grew up on a small farm with her brother Arthur and dog Nap.

In 1962, she met Pat Devitt, a Merchant Navy seaman whose ship had broken down, and described him as a “real charmer – a perfect gentleman”.

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His birth date was May 22 and for years Mary continued to say she was also born that day – even writing on her birth certificate to “correct” it, Janice recalled.

The pair would frequently go to dance halls, with Pat trained by choreographer and band leader Victor Silvester.

Mary worked as a housekeeper as well as spending 10 years in a government training centre.

Pat was in a serious car accident in 1972 and while he spent months in hospital for treatment, the couple finally decided to marry.

After many years together, they moved to St Albans in Hertfordshire to look after Pat’s sister May, then to Lowestoft, Suffolk.

Pat died in 2010 and Mary moved north to Old Kilpatrick’s Church Place sheltered housing complex to be closer to Janice and her husband.

She was out daily to the shops and chatting to residents at the Keystore.

In an 2018 interview, Mary told the Post: “I like my independence. I’m quite fiercely independent.

“I don’t want carers doing anything. It comes from being on a farm doing everything.”

Mary passed away on May 6 and her funeral at Clydebank Crematorium was May 12.

Janice said she will continue to remember her aunt for her humour and smile.

Last year, when Mary became poorly and diagnosed with vascular dementia, she handed power of attorney to Janice. The process was expedited – and was mailed to Mary.

“She ripped it up and sent it back to the public guardian’s office,” laughs Janice. “But it didn’t even come from them. She made me laugh all the time.”

When Janice and husband David made a video to be shown to Mary in recent weeks, Castle View’s staff said her eyes lit up.

“I will remember her for her sense of humour,” said Janice.

“She was a very strong character – there was Mary’s way, and the wrong way.

“Her eyes could light up a room.”