Not long after my great grandparents, Peter and Margaret Gaffaney, moved to Rangiora in North Canterbury, Margaret died “unexpectedly” at the age of 46 (though her death certificate gives her age as 42) on 16th November 1931.  The cause of death was “Perinephritic Abscess, Toxaemia and secondary Haemoerrhage”.1

My grandfather was just 21 when his mother died, and of course my father and his siblings never knew her.  My poor great grandfather spent 23 years a widower.

Obituary, Margaret (O'Rourke) Gaffaney, 1931 (publication unknown)

Obituary, Margaret (O'Rourke) Gaffaney, 1931 (publication unknown)


On November 16, there passed away at Rangiora, Mrs Margaret Monica Gaffaney, wife of Mr. Peter Gaffaney, well-known throughout Canterbury. Death was unexpected, and occurred after an operation necessitated by a sudden illness. Mrs. Gaffaney was the daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. B. O’Rourke, of Napier. She was educated at the Sacred Heart Convent, Napier, and upon her marriage took up residence with her husband in the South Island. Mr. and Mrs. Gaffaney resided at Fairlie for ten years, following that at Waimate for eight, and had been living at Rangiora for the past three years. The deceased lady was noted for her genial kindness and brightness of disposition, and her charming personality won for her a very wide circle of friends in the South and elsewhere. During her last illness, Mrs. Gaffaney was attended by Rev. Father Leen, parish priest at Rangiora, a close friend of the sorrowing family. At the Requiem there were present in the sanctuary, besides the celebrant (Rev. Father Leen), Rev. Fathers A. Keane and S. O’Connor, of St Mary’s, Christchurch, and Rev. P. Cahill. The Mass was sung by the children of the convent school in the presence of a crowded congregration of relatives and friends. At the graveside in the Bromley Cemetery, Christchurch, the burial service was conducted by Rev. Father P. Cahill, of Hastings, nephew of the deceased, assisted by Rev. Father Leen. Surviving are Mr. Peter Gaffaney, husband of the deceased, and their son Dominic, as well as brothers and sisters of the deceased. R.I.P.

  1. New Zealand, death certificate for Margaret Gaffaney; 16 Nov 1931, Rangiora; citing 1931/10480 Births, Deaths & Marriages, New Zealand.