Death of Curraghboy woman who received Presidential Bravery Award in the US

The death occurred on August 15th of Nancy O’Brien (nee Coyle), Boston, Massachusetts, and formerly of Curlea, Curraghboy, Co. Roscommon following a lengthy illness.

Educated at Lismoyle NS, Nancy, who turned 81 on February 16th last, emigrated to Boston in 1959 and lived there for 54 years.

In the 1960s, the then 23-year-old Nancy Coyle was given the Presidential Bravery Medal by President Lyndon Johnson after she rescued twin boys – John and Tom Boxer from New York – from drowning. The two boys had been in a boat on Cape Cod when a storm broke and they were both thrown into the sea. Their father attempted to save them but was sadly drowned.

Part of Tom Boxer’s account at the time read: “A pretty Irish girl was walking along the beach and heard us call for help. She dived, fully clothed, into the ten-feet high waves and first saved my brother, John, and then saved me”.

  At the time of the rescue, Nancy was Cape Cod’s Water Ski Champion for 1964 and had also finished runner-up in a talent show there.

Nancy is an aunt of this year’s Roscommon Rose Bernie Ryan and had been a frequent visitor to Roscommon over the years.

Beloved wife of over 54 years to the late Patrick, Nancy was predeceased by her parents, Bernard and Annie Coyle (nee Nolan), brothers James, John, and PJ and his late wife Nora, and sister Helen (O’Keeffe), all of Co. Roscommon.

She is sadly missed by her sons Patrick, Johnny, and Stephen, daughter Margaret Ann, brothers Mike, Bernie, Jimmy (all Boston), sisters Betty (Killashee, Co. Longford), Kathleen (Racecourse Road, Roscommon), Nuala and Margaret (both Boston), nine grandchildren, extended family and many friends.

Nancy was laid to rest at St. Joseph’s Cemetery, West Roxbury following funeral mass at St. Ignatius of Loyola Church, Chestnut Hill on Friday, August 19th.