Ann Gribben Obituary, Death – On January 17, 2023, Ann passed away in a calm and peaceful manner at the hospital, surrounded by her devoted family. Beloved wife of David, who predeceased her, doting mother of Kieran, Stephen, Angela, and Paula (who also predeceased her), devoted grandmother and great-grandmother, and doting mother-in-law, sister, and friend. Paula predeceased her. R.I.P. When we learned that Ann had passed away, everyone in the community house felt a deep sense of loss and sorrow.
Her history of involvement with Springhill Community House and the neighborhoods of Springhill, Whiterock, Westrock, and Ballymurphy dates back more than half a century. Mary Walsh, Ann’s mother, opened a shop in the Springhill Avenue neighborhood that eventually became known as Mary’s Shop. Since that time, multiple generations of the Walsh/Gribben family have been offering a much-needed grocery service to the wider community, through both prosperous and challenging times.
Both Mary and Ann were there to lend their support to Father Des when he was establishing the community house, and more than half a century later, Mary’s Shop is still providing our groceries. That custom was carried on after Ann and her husband Davey purchased the store and became the new owners.
After they came to their son Stephen, their daughter Paula (who had passed away), and their grandchildren David, Stephen, and Rachel. Mary’s Shop is a genuine neighborhood convenience store that is run by a family and caters to the requirements of the community.
Not only that, but it gives back to the community by donating goods and services to community events and initiatives. Ann felt hopeless after the Covid virus struck, and the shop, like most businesses, had to temporarily close its doors. She said it with a sense of pride that “not even the troubles closed the shop,” and she urged the younger generation to get the shop open as soon as possible.
All of us have fond recollections of Mary’s Shop, where they offered the best cheese in the area, which was sliced from a massive 5-kilogram slicing block. Mary or Ann would take a quarter pound and either block it or slice it into quarters. Even more delicious was their cooked ham, which was sliced from a whole ham joint using a large silver cutting machine. I can see it clearly now: Ann holding the paper under the slicer as the ham fell onto the paper from the slicer. Even though they were taking an inordinately long time, Ann did not push the children ahead of the adults in the line or make room for them. Ann continued to serve the customers despite the fact that some of them lacked even a few pence or more.
The local Mary’s Shop was kind enough to provide the community center with an assortment of tea and coffee in the form of catering bags on occasion. Ann would always greet you with a friendly smile and a few words, she would always ask about your family, and she would always know her customers by name. That is not something that is sold in the larger supermarkets. I would like to express my gratitude to Ann, Mary, and Davey, as well as the rest of the Gribben family, for maintaining a locally owned and operated family business that is situated at the very center of the community. Our deepest condolences go out to Kieran, Stephen, and Angela, Ann’s children, as well as her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
The following is a recounting of an event that took place in the shop in 1972 by Ann’s mother Mary. It was in response to Ann’s remark that “not even the troubles closed the shop.” It is taken from Father Des’ archive, and it demonstrates how Mary’s shop, and by extension, the Walsh/Gribben family, is more than just a shop; rather, they are an essential component of the community who stood side by side with the oppressed. I was working in my shop on Springhill Avenue in the afternoon of September 17, 1972. The date was a Sunday. Two members of the paratrooper regiment entered the shop where we were working.
One of them climbed up on top of the counter and ran back inside the shop. I decided to follow him and then I asked him what he needed. He told them to tell their customers to get off the streets before it got dark because “Bloody Sunday” was going to be a picnic by the time they were done working today. A young man of 17 years. It was from this shop that a soldier was shot, and he has since died as a result of his wounds.
I informed him that was not the case, and he stated that he had been shot either from this location or from the Corpus Christi Church.
They showed up once more yesterday, but this time it was a different group, and they were looking for the people who are currently employed to clean the streets. There may have been as many as three young women present in the shop. One of the soldiers, a Scotsman, pushed his fist under the nose of one of the women and said, “I burst your f…n… nose.” He was referring to the woman’s nose as “the f…n… nose.” He implied that she had an offensive tongue, despite the fact that she did not. She never once engaged in conversation with him. He informed them that he would inspect the contents of their bags.
One of the women commented that the only person with a bag was the young child. If he had a gun, “I would shoot a child as quickly as I would shoot you,” the man said. I warned him that if he continued to be bothersome to the girl, he wouldn’t be allowed to hit her. After continuing with his foul string of abuse, he eventually left the scene.
We are grateful to Ann for all of the years of hard work she has put in. From everyone at the Springhill Community House and the wider community, we wish for you to rest in peace.
On Saturday, the 21st of January 2023, at 12.30 p.m., Ann’s remains will be transported from her former residence located at 41 Brittons Parade to St. John the Evangelist Church for a Requiem Mass at 1 p.m., which will be followed by burial in Milltown Cemetery. Please have Our Lady of Knock intercede on her behalf.