Tom Dunne made his final journey through the town he loved so well on Monday morning of this week, passing his former shoe store on Navan's Trimgate Street and his family home on Boyne Road, on his way to be laid to rest in St Mary's Cemetery.
While he was from Normanstown, Carlanstown, it is with Navan that the name of Tom Dunne will be forever associated, through his eponymous shoe shop on the main street, as well as his involvement with the Chamber of Commerce and Navan Exhibition Centre.
Mr Dunne passed away peacefully on Saturday last after a long illness, at Moorehall Lodge Nursing Home, Ardee.
Tom Dunne first opened his shoe shop on Trimgate Street in 1960, when he was just 28. He further extended in 1963 and 1968, and always continued to keep up to date with the latest developments, building stores that were equal to and in many respects, more superior to those to be seen in larger towns and cities, as well as keeping in tune with the latest footwear trends. There were buying trips to London with staff, and at one stage he had assistants trained in England in using a new foot gauge for measuring children's feet.
Staff members at Tom Dunne's recall him as a man who was very generous to them in any needs they had regarding family, and a very easy man to get on with at work. He was a man who knew his customers, and if he didn't know somebody, made sure he got to know them. He had three shops in Dublin and one in Cork, and also opened further stores in Navan town. Many of his sales staff in Navan went on to become well-known sales persons for various companies and businesses in the town and county, with some starting their own businesses.
A progressive businessman, deceased was also responsible for the development of the Trimgate Street Arcade in Bakery Lane, when he saw the need for smaller, modern shop units in the town. He married Sheila Keaney from Roscommon, who worked in the telephone exchange at the Post Office on Trimgate Street.
Navan at this time was a thriving industrial town and many of the customers of Tom Dunne's were factory workers from the manufacturing firms around the town, where furniture, carpets and clothing was produced. Many factories closed early on Fridays, which was a big shopping day in the town, as was Saturday. Tom Dunne realised the importance of these industries to the town, and through his involvement with the Chamber of Commerce, was the driving force behind the building of the Navan Exhibition Centre, now the enterprise centre on the Trim Road.
Mr Dunne was appointed president of Navan Chamber of Commerce in 1975, and served for two years in the position. Reviewing the first year of his term, he told the annual meeting in 1976 that the remarkable industrial and commercial success of Navan in recent times was attributed to self-help and confidence.
That same year, he continued to highlight the need for a permanent exhibition centre in Navan. The Navan Trade Fair, which displayed goods and products from all the manufacturers around the town, was proving to be such a success that a permanent premises was needed. Frank Murray of Navan Steel Products Ltd had been providing a premises at Carriage Road for the trade fairs.
Successive governments and ministers were lobbied by the Chamber at meetings and annual dinners, as well as at the trade fairs.
Following on from his period as chamber president, Mr Dunne became chairman of the Exhibition Centre Committee, and spearheaded the development of the 32,000 square feet exhibition centre. In February 1981, the long campaign was ended when Mr Dunne ceremoniously put the last slabs on the roof of the centre, in a 'topping-out' ceremony.
He paid tribute to the commercial firms, manufacturing industries, hoteliers, banks, carpet manufacturers, mining company Bula, and private individuals for their generous contributions, as well as assistance from the Department of Industry and Commerce, the Irish Goods Council, Meath County Council, Navan Urban Council and Tara Mines.
The exhibition centre opened on 4th May 1981, with 47 manufacturers from the town participating. Tom Dunne was involved with the Chamber in its purchase from the county council of its present building on Church Hill, the former library building.
This week's meeting of the Chamber of Commerce executive committee was postponed as a mark of respect to Mr Dunne. Mr William O'Reilly, current president, said: Tom Dunne was a former president and a hugely active and influential member of the Chamber. He was a mainstay of the business community over the years until his retirement and was a very recognisable figure in Navan until his retirement at the end of the 1990s.
He will be greatly missed by friends, family and colleagues and our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this sad time."
Mr Dunne remained in business in Trimgate Street until he retired in 1998, and Cordners took over.
At his funeral Mass, Fr Dwayne Gavin said that while Tom was well known for his business interests and chamber involvement, he was primarily devoted to his family, and loved spending time with them at home on the Boyne Road.
Never interested in travelling too far, he preferred to spend time at home with his family and in his gardens, and was a perfectionist when it came to his gardening. It was fitting that he was in the presence of his family when he passed away on Saturday morning.
St Mary's Church in Navan was thronged for the removal and funeral ceremonies of Mr Dunne on Sunday night and Monday morning, when Dunne family was joined by the town's business people, friends and customers of the deceased. Family members took part in the ceremony and a flower arrangement was brought up in the Offertory to represent his love of gardening. St Mary's Church Choir, of which Mrs Dunne is a member, performed, accompanied by Andrew Gavin, soloist and Niamh Gavin on organ.
Tom Dunne is survived by his wife, Sheila (nee Keaney), family, Karen, John, Harry and David; brother, Bryan; grandchildren, Lauren, Megan, Heather, Jack, Tom, Ellie, Alex, Mikey, Isabelle and Ashley; son-in-law Pat Downey; daughters-in-law Brídín, Celine and Sandra; sisters-in-law, nephews, nieces, extended family, neighbours and friends.
Mary Nugent, Navan
There was great sadness at the death of Mrs Mary Nugent, Boyne Road, Navan. A member of the Galligan family of Barconey, Castlerahan, Co Cavan, she passed away on 3rd January last in St Elizabeth's Nursing Home, Athboy, aged 98 years.
She was predeceased by her husband, Thomas, in November 1992. She will be remembered by her family as a wonderful mother and grandmother. She loved to play bingo and she made many great friends there.
Deceased is survived by her son Norbert, Boyne Road; daughter, Betty Garry, Boyne Road; son-in-law Jim Garry; grandchildren, Jean and Seamus Garry; brother-in-law, Jim McGrane, Navan Road, Dublin, nephews and niece, neighbours and friends.
Following a reposing at her daughter Betty's residence, her remains were removed to the Church of the Nativity, Johnstown, for Requiem Mass, followed by burial in St Mary's Cemetery, Navan.
A month's mind Mass will be celebrated on Friday 3rd February at 7.30pm in the Church of the Nativity of Our Lady, Johnstown.
John Bradley, Ashbourne
The death took place at Connolly Memorial Hospital, Dublin on 20th December last of Mr John Bradley, Milltown Estate, Ashbourne who was aged 79. He was a native of Dunderry.
Mrs Bradley was predeceased by his wife Elizabeth in 1998 and he is survived by his sons, Larry, Sean, Eddie, Dermot, Gerry, Robbie; daughters Deirdre, Mary and Elizabeth; grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces, nephews and friends.
Aiden Traynor, Kentstown and London
Mr Aiden Traynor, Wormholt Road, Shepherds Bush, London, who died in Kensignton, London, on 27th December last at the age of 64, was a native of Kentstown.
He went to live in London in 1968 and worked for the Heinz company for over 20 years. For 11 years prior to his death, deceased was employed by Hammersmith and Fulham Council as a security officer. In his spare time, he worked tirelessly for the local Labour Party and he also indulged his interest in horse racing, attending meetings all over the South of England.
He is survived by his wife, Noeleen; sons, Andrew and Darren; daughter Sarah (Kirby); son-in-law, Marcus Kirby; daughters-in-law Ana and Cynthia; grandchildren Ella, Louis, Marija and Zach; relatives and friends.
His funeral Mass was celebrated at Our Lady of Fatima Church, White City and the interment took place at Mortlake Cemetery on 13th January.
Breda O'Reilly, Navan
The death took place at Our Lady's Hospital, Navan on 3rd December last of Mrs Breda O'Reilly (neé Mulvany), St Mary's Park, Navan.
She was predeceased by her husband Jim in 1978 and is survived by her sons Sean, Paul, Michael and Joe, daughter Mary (England), brother John Mulvany, Beauparc, sister Betty (England), daughters-in-law, son-in-law, grandchildren, great grandchildren.
Her funeral Mass was celebrated in St Mary's Church, Navan and her funeral took place to St Mary's Cemetery, Navan.
Jane Gray, Killyon
The parish of Killyon and surrounding areas were deeply sadden by the news of the passing of Mrs Jane Gray, Killyon, who died in the Hermitage Hospital, Palmerstown following a short illness.
She was brought to her home where she reposed overnight and next day removal took place for Requiem Mass in the Church of the Assumption, Killyon. There was a large attendance at the interment in the local cemetery.
Predeceased by her husband Anthony on 16th March 1986, she is survived by her sons, Philip and Patrick; daughters Margaret, Ann, Jennifer and Emily; sister, Kate Ann, Dangan, Summerhill; sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and a large circle of friends.
Eileen Duffy, Kilberry
Mrs Eileen Duffy (neé McDonnell), Kilberry, Navan, who has died aged 60, was a native of Co Mayo and moved with her family to Brownstown, Navan when she was four years old.
Working on the farm and playing camogie were all part of her life in her early years.
She moved to Kilberry following her marriage to Sean in 1975.
Mrs Duffy had a great zest for life and spending time with her family was paramount to her. In her working life, she was a clerical officer for the Health Service Executive in the Child and Family Centre in Navan.
During her life, walking, dancing and generally keeping fit were important to her, and she had enjoyed good health up to the time of her illness.
Her peaceful death at home in Kilberry on New Year's Eve deeply saddened her family and many friends. She is survived by her husband, Sean; daughters, Ruth, Grainne, Sinead and Aileen; son, Sean; and brothers and sisters, Bridie, Maureen, Willie and Packie, relatives and friends.
Her funeral took place on 4th January in Kilberry.