Mrs. Mary “Maura” Elizabeth (Gill) Horgan died peacefully on Friday, December 24th at St. Mary’s Hospital surrounded by family and friends. Mrs. Horgan was born in Fenagh, County Leitrim, Ireland, daughter of the late Annie (Gallogly) and James Gill. She was the beloved wife of the late Jeremiah Horgan originally from Co. Kerry, Ireland and the devoted Mother of Dr. Attorney Maureen Horgan and Irene Horgan of Middlebury.
After graduating from Fulham Hospital School of Nursing in London, England, she emigrated to the US, raised her family, earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the State University of New York and founded the Horgan Academy of Irish Dance. Mrs. Horgan learned Irish dance in her native Ireland under the tutelage of Irish dance master, Murtagh Curran. Under her direction, the Horgan Academy has educated thousands of dancers to perform traditional and contemporary Irish dance for a host of church, charity, community, cultural and competitive events. She also hosted the “Horgan’s Irish Hour” on WATR-1320AM radio for many years.
Mrs. Horgan was a member of the North American Feis Commission since 1993 when she founded the Horgan Academy Feis (gaelic for competiton) and the Constitution State Feis. She has served as Feis Secretary for more than 50 competitions attracting dancers to Connecticut from throughout North America and Ireland to compete with Horgan Academy dancers.
Mrs. Horgan was honored as Naugatuck’s Irish Mayor for St. Patrick’s Day 1999 and was presented with an Official Citation from the State of Connecticut General Assembly “in recognition of her outstanding contributions to the community and her status as an exemplary role model of Irish heritage and culture.” Mrs. Horgan received two honors from the President of Ireland for her tireless efforts in fostering of a sense of community among Irish people abroad through Irish dance. She was also honored by the City of Hartford for fostering Irish culture and hosting the Constitution State Feis at the Connecticut Convention Center. Her establishment of the Shamrocks for Scholars program has awarded 12 college scholarships to Horgan Academy dancers. Mrs. Horgan was a life-long member of the Pioneers of the Sacred Heart.
Besides her daughters, she is survived by a brother, Felix Gill of Narragansett, Rhode Island; two sisters, Josephine Linnane of County Galway, Ireland and Theresa O’Rourke of County Leitrim, Ireland; many nieces, nephews, grandnieces, grandnephews, and a great-grandnephew. She was predeceased by two brothers William and John Gill, and a sister Ellie Gill
Her funeral will be held on Thursday Dec. 30th, 2010 at 9:15 am from the Alderson Funeral Home of Naugatuck, 201 Meadow St. and proceed to St. John of the Cross Roman Catholic Church in Middlebury where she was a communicant, where a Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:00 am. Burial will be at St. James Cemetery in Naugatuck. Calling hours will be held at the funeral home on Wed., December 29th from 4:00 to7:00pm. Memorial Mass donations may be made in Memory of Mary Horgan to the Television Mass, Office of Radio & Television, 15 Peach Orchard Rd., Prospect, CT 06712.