The late Johnny Herbstreit in his Oldcastle shop.
The late Johnny Herbstreit in his Oldcastle shop.
Johnny Herbstreit, Oldcastle
John (Johnny) Herbstreit, The Square, Oldcastle, who died suddenly at the home of his late sister Norrie, on Saturday 21st September, was the last surviving member of a very popular family in the town. A friend to all, Johnny was well known and held in high regard by both young and old.
Aged 78, Johnny was the youngest of four children of the late Leo and Kathleen Herbstreit (nee Feeney), of The Square, Oldcastle, and previously of Barrack Street. He was predeceased by his sisters, Norrie and Mamie, and brother, Joe.
Johnny was educated at the Gilson Endowed National School.
On finishing school, the young Johnny had a flair for business and spent many happy days in the family home. This was no ordinary home. Herbstreits had it all.
In 1917, the ladies hairdressing salon was established by his mother, a tradition carried on by his sisters. Also in the same year, the barber’s shop was established by his father, and continued on by his brother. Ironically, even though Johnny never really cut hair, in later years, he came to be known as 'Johnny the Barber’.
The family also had a fancy goods/ toy shop / newsagency where all sorts of wares could be purchased. No matter what you wanted, Herbstreits had it. The shop window was a favourite spot for children to come to select their Santa toy and wait with anticipation. Other services this shop provided over the years were launderette and bus and rail freight depot.
This shop was a right old ceili house were people gathered from near and far to discuss local news. The old jukebox blasted out tunes in the background, an idea brought about by Johnny himself. An Garda Síochána were close associates of the Herbstreit Family, as they were next door neighbours.
During his wake and funeral, family and friends enjoyed reminiscing about Herbstreits or 'The Barbers’ as it was often called. They talked especially about the many card games that took place there, some lasting into the early hours.
As a young boy, Johnny was a member of the Oldcastle Brass and Reed band, but Johnny’s great love was football. He had a great association with Oldcastle Gaelic Football Club. He was a life long supporter and a president of the club. He was a founder member of the juvenile club. He was also a founder member of the Oldcastle blotto which raises a lot of money for the club. Johnny supported all the teams down through the generations. He witnessed a lot of triumphant victories and devastating defeats by the club. One victory he was very proud of was Naomh Fechin winning the under-14 football championship. They were managed that year, by Peter Maguire, Tom Dooley and Aloysius Donoghue.
Johnny lived life to the full and was very proud of Oldcastle town. He talked about the carnivals, fleadhs and ceilies. He danced in the Eldorado, The Show Hall and The Farmers Ballroom in Virginia. He often laughed about going to a dance in Beechmount Navan, one very foggy night, with an old friend and the only light they had, was a torch which he held out the passengers window. Bingos, blottos and the Lotto were favourite flutters of Johnny’s.
His faith was very important to him. He was a devout Catholic and regular Massgoer. He supported the Church for years. He ran buses to both Kilnacrott and Knock.
The Oldcastle Mass leaflet was of great importance to Johnny, displaying his great faith and also his desire to keep people informed about the local town.
Johnny enjoyed spending time with his family, relatives and many friends, who were all so good to him in his ageing years. The yellow rose presented during his funeral mass was a fitting thank you to Johnny’s many friends. He had time to talk to everyone. He enjoyed nothing better than a chat and a bit of craic. He tended not to go to bed too early, probably going back to the days of the card games. He had a great memory and could go back many years, telling tales about all the old characters in and around Oldcastle. He was a simple, salt of the earth, honest, decent man.
In bygone days, Herbstreits was the hub of the town. Before mobile phones and landlines, phone calls were made direct to Herbstreits. Johnny or Joe made sure any message was delivered by hook or by crook.
Having reposed at his sister’s house, which had become Johnny’s home in later years, Johnny’s remains were taken to St Brigid’s Church, Oldcastle where they were received by Fr Ray Kelly, PP. Requiem mass was concelebrated by Fr Kelly and Fr Michael Walsh, PP. The Mass was a fitting tribute to Johnny’s long and wonderful life in which his family, relatives and many friends participated.
Johnny was a unique individual who lived a life of honesty, integrity and good faith. He enriched the lives of all who knew, or became associated with him.
He will be sadly missed but fondly remembered by his nieces, Kay, Leonora, Margaret, Mary and Anne; and nephews, John, Patrick, Bart and Leo; cousins Kattie, Billy and Oliver; extended family, neighbours and many good friends.
Alex Hutcheson, Stamullen and Naul
Alex Hutcheson, Tullog Wood, Naul, who died recently, was a native of Stamullen, and a leading figure in Ireland’s farm machinery business. He died after a long illness, on 18th September last, peacefully, at his residence.
In a tribute, the Irish Farmers Journal described him as “the true gentleman of the farm machinery industry in Ireland.”
Born on a farm in Stamullen, he worked all of his life in the farm machinery business, starting with Armstrong Machinery in Drogheda in 1969 and eventually owning the business which, with his sons Charles and James, was recently re-located to Jordanstown, Lusk in Co Dublin.
Alex was a combine harvester man all of his life. His started with the Claas range and then when Armstrong Machinery took on the New Holland range he was to stick with it, where his unique insight and expertise was always valued for its honesty.
He was hugely respected throughout the farm machinery industry. He was also deeply involved in the vintage movement and a founder of the Fingal Vintage Club where his love for the Ford and Fordson range was well known. His enthusiasm for vintage tractors and machinery was always obvious. He loved to see the older combines in action side by side with the modern machines.
He was involved in the Farm Tractor and Machinery Trade Association for many years. He was one of the original personal guarantors for the first FTMTA Farm Machinery Show held in 1989.
Most of all, there was great humanity to Alex Hutcheson, the Journal tribute continued. His personality was mild, while his stature was physically big. He was always
thoughtful and never argumentative, a person seeking conciliation rather than conflict, despite the many personal health challenges he had in his 66 years. He had a deep sense of faith that was part of his quiet personality.
Alex fought a long battle with the ups and downs of illness and lost his daughter Anne to a tragic accident.
He is survived by his wife, Teresa; daughters, Carmel, Rosemary, Kate; sons Charles and James; sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, grandchildren, sister, brother, sister-in-law, relatives and friends. The funeral took place from St Patrick’s Church, Stamullen to Naul Cemetery.
Oliver Tuite, Oldcastle
There was widespread regret following the passing on 23rd September last of Oliver Tuite, Caldragh Gate, Ballinvalley, Oldcastle, peacefully at St James’ Hospital, Dublin. Deceased was a native of Ballinvalley, Oldcastle, and was born on 28th January 1929 to Edward and Margaret Tuite, the third eldest of 12 children. He attended school in Oldcastle, and married Mary Gilsenan on 12th July 1967. Mr Tuite was a dedicated farmer who loved working the farm and the land and was a lifelong member of the Irish Farmers Association. He was an avid Meath GAA supporter and lover of all sports, a keen angler and a member of the Newcastle and Stonefield Gun Club for many years and a supporter and follower of the Ballymacad Hunt.
Deceased was a loving and committed husband and the proud father of 10 and grandfather of 17. He is survived by his wife, Mary; daughters, Margaret, Mary, Olivia, Edel, Marcella, Bernie, Patricia and Angela; sons, Eddie and Peter; brothers, Pat, Peter and Andrew; sisters, Dilly, Maeve and Marie, and his beloved grandchildren.
The Funeral Mass was held in St Brigid’s Church, Oldcastle, with burial afterwards in the local cemetery. A month’s memory Mass will take place in St Brigid’s Church on Saturday 26th October at 7pm.
Patrick Walker, Kilbride
There was considerable sadness following the death on 18th September last, at the Mater Hospital, of Patrick Walker, Cherrytree Drive, Kilbride, Mulhuddart, aged 64 years. Mr Walker was a native of Wicklow.
He is survived by his wife, Pamela; sons, Paul and Tony; daughters, Dawn Murphy, Paula Fagan, Lumena Walker and Jennifer Walker; grandchildren, Zoe Lynch, Sarah Walker, Erica Walker, Killian Murphy; brothers; sister; sons-in-law; daughters-in-law; relatives, neighbours and many friends.
The funeral took place from the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Ashbourne, to St Declan’s Cemetery. A month’s memory Mass will take place on Sunday 20th October at 11am, in Ashbourne.
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