Irish Daily Mail – Tragedy in New York as 12-year-old son of prominent Irish-American couple dies suddenly

Posted by: Irish Daily Mail; Posted on Sunday, April 08, 2012

A prominent New York family are in mourning after their young son died suddenly. Rory Staunton, the son of Irish Lobby For Immigration Reform founder Ciaran Staunton, died of complications following a brief illness.

Mr Staunton runs an Irish pub, Molly Bloom’s, in New York. His wife, Orlaith, runs The Irish Voice newspaper also in the city.

Rory Staunton, the son of Irish Lobby For Immigration Reform founder Ciaran Staunton, died of complications following a brief illness. ‘We will all miss him,’ junior minister Fergus O’Dowd said yesterday. ‘He was wonderful and too young to die.’ Niall O’Dowd, who works at the Irish Voice newspaper in New York, writes on its website Irish Central.com: ‘This is the toughest column I will ever write and the one I least expected to.’

‘On Sunday night in a New York hospital my beautiful 12-year-old nephew Rory Staunton passed from this earth. Rory wasn’t just my nephew, he was the son I never had, the precious possession of my sister Orlaith and her husband Ciaran Staunton along with their daughter Kathleen.’

Mr O’Dowd, who has a daughter Alana, said he often tried to ‘steal’ Rory away: ‘a Notre Dame game, a weekend at our house, whenever the opportunity presented itself.

‘I revelled in this big laughing Irishman, with the ‘Simpsons’ and ‘Family Guy’ obsession, the absurd sense of humor and the serious political side of him who studied American politics with the intensity of a professional. JFK was his hero he told me, because of his idealism. Rory too wanted to make a difference, to help the less well off. For one so young he already had a highly developed social conscience.

‘He had already been to the White House and had met President Obama and Michelle on St Patrick’s Day in 2011. Not surprisingly, given his parents and their keen interest in all things political, Rory was fast becoming a political expert.’

‘Then on Sunday we lost him. Four days earlier he had received an elbow scrape after falling while playing basketball, which had somehow allowed a toxic bacteria into his system. Two days later he was hospitalized, fighting for his life, a battle he ultimately lost.

‘There is an air of unreality even as I write this. My beautiful red-headed, five-foot nine-inch tall nephew has departed, leaving an utterly broken family and circle of friends that stretches from New York to Ireland to many other points behind.

‘It was the worst weekend of my life as I watched the beloved boy battle vainly against the host of toxins that were attacking him.

‘Despite the best efforts of outstanding doctors and nurses in the Intensive Care Unit , the darling boy did not survive.

‘He is gone now into the wild blue yonder where he used to travel as a pilot in the making.

‘Soar high Rory, and keep watch on us down below. We love you and miss you so much. Some day with a blue sky above and a fair wind behind, and our hearts full, our dreams will come true and we will meet our beautiful boy again.’

Rory’s uncle Fine Gael Minister of State, Fergus O’Dowd, said: ‘We will all miss him. He was wonderful and too young to die.’

Rory’s remains will be flown home to Ireland for burial.

Irish Independent – Prominent Irish family in US lose young son

Posted by: Allison Bray;  Posted on Sunday, April 08, 2012

A PROMINENT Irish family based in the US was in mourning last night following the tragic death of a young family member.

Twelve-year-old Rory Staunton (pictured) of Sunnyside, Queens, New York, died of complications at the weekend following a brief illness.

He is the nephew of Fine Gael TD Fergus O’Dowd, his brother Louth County councillor Michael O’Dowd and ‘The Irish Voice’ publisher Niall O’Dowd, based in New York City.

He was the son of Orlaith (nee O’Dowd) and Ciaran Staunton, from Queens, New York. Orlaith is originally from Louth and her husband is originally from Co Mayo. The couple are understood to have a daughter as well as Rory. Mr Staunton owns an Irish pub called Molly Bloom’s in the Sunnyside area of Queens. A local newspaper reported the tragedy yesterday.

Rory fell ill last week. He died suddenly over the weekend, the ‘Sunnyside Post’ said. Funeral arrangements have yet to be finalised.

Irish Central: 12-Year-Old Rory Staunton’s life is celebrated in style at New York church Over 1,000 throng to say farewell to our laughing boy in Woodside, Queens

Published: Wednesday April 6, 2012
IrishCentral
12-Year-Old Rory Staunton’s life is celebrated in style at New York church Over 1,000 throng to say farewell to our laughing boy in Woodside, Queens

By Niall O’Dowd

roryhomepictureMy 12-year-old nephew Rory Staunton’s brief life was celebrated in St. Mary’s in Queens, New York yesterday and over 1,200 showed up forcing an outdoor viewing link to be set up.

Rory died in a New York hospital on Sunday last after a toxic bacteria entered his body through an elbow cut received at a basketball game when he fell.

The huge crowd was an extraordinary acknowledgement of the impact of Rory. I saw grown men and women weep.

Many had to turn away from Rory’s parents, my sister Orlaith and brother in law Ciaran, distraught at their sorrow.

Friends I have not seen in decades showed, all bearing witness to the immutable fact that when a child dies a community rallies to the stricken family.

And stricken we are.

Getting up yesterday morning was a painful act, I would have given lots of money to be 1,000 miles away, preferably on an island.

My beloved Rory was dead and a day of sorrow with no peace or joy beckoned.

Yet by the end of it, it was uplifting to feel the love of an Irish community so obviously ready to stand by a family in grief. The rituals of the church, too, on such occasions, have a wonderfully calming effect, providing continuity and sense of perspective.

St. Mary’s was built in 1860, generations of Irish came and prayed, married, and were buried out of that same church. Rory Staunton was just the latest.

My brother in law Ciaran Staunton took the bravest step, eulogizing his own son. He stood before the packed congregation and described the kid he called his “pal,” never his son, who went everywhere with him and was an “unindicted co conspirator” in a number of escapades, most notably when the famously balding Ciaran got Rory to demand of a confused local barber where was the wig his father had ordered weeks before.

But he also talked about the Sunnyside community Rory grew up and prospered in. It really is a slice of new New York where Irish/Jewish and all religious types mix readily.

Rory attended bar mitzvahs, and his Jewish friends helped trim the Christmas tree. The place is an anti-Semites nightmare.

Ciaran described how Rory had prospered at the local non-denominational school, had received an education that showed him windows on the world, and most recently,Ciaran had found a letter to the North Korean government in which Rory had demanded that they explain their hideous policies.

How Ciaran pulled it off I don’t know. He has been so overcome with grief that I feared that he wouldn’t even make it to the church door.

I spoke about the love Ciaran and Orlaith had for each other which sustained them even during their dark night of the soul.

I spoke about my sister and Rory and the little love notes he left her around the house and the chats they had about college and his next big move in life.

I spoke about Kathleen, already missing her big brother and her hero and how brave she has been.

Now it is on to Ireland and the long journey home for Rory who will be buried with his beloved grandmother in Drogheda on Easter Monday.

For Ciaran and Orlaith it will be the last leg of a nightmare week that will be seared in their hearts forever.

I hope Ireland and family there will work its magic, as if often does, and ease their pain.

Grief-stricken family say goodbye to 12-year-old Rory Staunton – Mayo News

Posted by: Michael Duffy @ mayonews.com; Posted on Sunday, April 01, 2012

THERE were emotional and heart wrenching scenes on both sides of the Atlantic last week as 12-year-old Rory Staunton’s short life was first commemorated at a service in New York before his burial yesterday, Easter Monday, in Drogheda, Co Louth. Rory was the son of Ciaran Staunton, originally from Knappagh, Westport and Dadreen, Thallabawn, Louisburgh and Orlaith Staunton, nee O’Dowd. Rory died in a New York hospital on Sunday, March 30 after a toxic bacteria entered his body through an elbow cut received when he fell at a basketball game.

Over 1,200 people packed into St Mary’s Church in Queens to pay tribute to young Rory, who was nephew Niall O’Dowd, the editor of the Irish Voice, the New York based Irish American newspaper which is also run by Rory’s mother and Niall’s sister Orlaith.

Niall this week documented his family’s grief though his Periscope column on the irishcentral.com website where he referred to the huge bravery shown by his brother-in-law who eulogised before the large crowd about his departed son.

Ciaran spoke of his pal who was an ‘co-conspirator’ in a number of escapades and how he prospered so well at the local non-denominational school and received an education that had shown him windows on the world.

Niall O’Dowd in his column last week wrote passionately about a boy who obviously played a huge part in the lives of all those who knew him: “From earliest times, Rory was a laughing little boy, an impish toddler always ready for fun, especially when his sister Kathleen and her sidekick, my daughter Alana, were involved. “In later years, he was also strangely mature for his age, taking part in adult conversations while other kids played childhood games.

“I tried to steal Rory away often; a Notre Dame game, a weekend at our house, whenever the opportunity presented itself. I revelled in this big laughing Irishman, with the ‘Simpsons’ and ‘Family Guy’ obsession, the absurd sense of humour and the serious political side of him who studied American politics with the intensity of a professional.

“JFK was his hero he told me, because of his idealism. Rory too wanted to make a difference, to help the less well off. For one so young he already had a highly developed social conscience.

“He had already been to the White House and had met President Obama and Michelle on St Patrick’s Day in 2011. Not surprisingly, given his parents and their keen interest in all things political, Rory was fast becoming a political expert.

“Rory charmed the pants off whoever met him. The girls were already showing interest, but Rory was a busy guy. He had taken flying lessons at 11, leaving his parents with their hearts in their mouths as he flew fearlessly into the wild blue yonder with his instructor. “Ireland was his spiritual home. On vacations back in his Dad’s Mayo or his Mom’s Kerry and Louth he fell in with the locals and a gaggle of cousins, discussed Mayo’s continued Gaelic Football failures with the best of them and came back to New York as attuned to Ireland and its rhythms as any local.

“He was about to spread his wings, and Georgetown University and its politics degree were on his radar. Rory was opening up, emerging from a chrysalis, ready for the beckoning world, to take flight.

“Then on Sunday we lost him. Four days earlier he had received an elbow scrape after falling while playing basketball, which had somehow allowed a toxic bacteria into his system. Two days later he was hospitalised, fighting for his life, a battle he ultimately lost.” Niall also wrote on Sunday about the wake for Rory which took place in his aunt Derval’s home in Co Meath where the Staunton and O’Dowd families said their last goodbyes.

“The wake went on late into the night. Farming life was one constant topic, as two rural families united in grief for a young boy but also in celebration of an extraordinary life. Our hearts are broken but the extraordinary love for Rory in Ireland and America is solace indeed,” concluded Niall.

Rory is survived by his grieving parents Ciaran and Orlaith, his ten-year-old sister Kathleen, his grandmother Tessie Staunton (Knappagh), uncles Joe, Pearse, Declan, Noel (Knappagh), Aidan (Kiltimagh), Fintan (Castlebar), Gabriel (Dublin), and aunt Loretta Marley (Glenhest) and many other relatives and friends. Removal was to the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Rathleigh, Tara, Co Meath yesterday (Monday) for Requiem Mass. Rory was buried afterwards, beside his grandmother, in Drogheda.