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Obituaries 25-06-2011

Story by Tom Kelly

Wednesday, 22nd June, 2011 4:40pm

Obituaries 25-06-2011

The late Fr Colum McKeogh, SMA.

Fr Christopher Columbanus McKeogh, SMA, who died on Thursday 2nd June in St Theresa's, African Missions, Blackrock Road, Cork, at the age of 78, was born in Parkstown, Ballivor, to James and Lena McKeogh (nee McLoughlin).

He was the last born of five. His three brothers, Patrick, John and James, and sister, Ailish, all predeceased him.

His local parish church is dedicated to St Columbanus and he was given this as his second name at his baptism. Within the Society of African Missions, he was known as Colum.

Fr McKeogh attended Ballivor National School and then moved to the CBS in Trim for his secondary education. After completing his Leaving Certificate, he entered the African Missions Novitiate in Kilcolgan, Co Galway. He studed Latin, geography and philosophy at University College, Cork, and after obtaining a BA in 1958, he completed bis theological studies in Dromantine, Newry.

During his seminary years, Fr McKeogh was a keen debater and diligent at his studies. Though not noted for his sporting prowess, he had a lifelong interest in sport, particularly the exploits of the Meath team.

He became a temporary member of the society on 26th June 1955 and, on 13th June 1961, took his oath as a permanent member. He was ordained on 10th December that year, one of a class of 16 priests.

After ordination, he was appointed to Benin City diocese, Nigeria, along with a classmate, Fr Tom Hassett. After completing their tyrocinium (learning the language and customs of the people), they were given their first appointments as priests. Fr McKeogh was to join the teaching staff of the Immaculate Conception College, Benin City. Without fear of contradiction, Colum McKeogh was an excellent English teacher. After one year, he was transferred to Annunciation College, Irrua, where he was a valued staff member and, eventually, became principal, succeeding Fr Aidan Anglin, SMA, in 1968.

Fr Jim Higgins, in his book 'Kindling The Fire', gave a resume of Fr Colum's ministry in Nigeria: "Colum was actually the last of many illustrious (SMA) principals who served there. During this period, they had the assistance of many lay missionaries, mainly young graduate teachers from Ireland. All of them, together with their Nigerian brothers who were now becoming more numerous, made Annunciation the leading school in Ishan and one of the most renowned in the mid-west. Colum saw to it that the high standards were maintained and that all students and staff did their duty. Colum, like many other missionaries, experienced the tragedy of the Nigerian Civil War at first-hand as the competing forces (Federal and Biafran) passed through Irrua during the conflict."

When he resigned from teaching in the late 1970s, he took up full-time pastoral work. His pastoral appointments included a period as parish priest in St John's, Fugar (and also teaching in its secondary school) and a period, shortly before he left Nigeria, as pastor of Annunciation parish, Irrua. One of his tasks in Fugar was to build a house for the priest to live in.

After a sabbatical in 1981-1982, Fr McKeogh returned to Benin City diocese. In 1984, he was asked to be part of the founding group of SMA missionaries invited by Bishop Hallett to work in Rustenburg, South Africa. With a classmate, Fr Vincent Brennan, they began their missionary work in St Clement's parish, Modimong.

In 1988, Colum McKeogh returned finally to Ireland and, after a further sabbatical, was appointed to the promotion team, travelling all over Leinster collecting funds for the society's missionary work. He did this work for 15 years, based at the SMA House in Maynooth and later in Ranelagh, Dublin.

During those years, an increasing loss of hearing made it more and more difficult for him to interact with those around him. He never complained but continued to give his all in any task asked of him. His return to Ireland afforded him the opportunity to reconnect with his beloved Meath team. And during those years, there was hardly a match in Croke Park or other parts involving them that he didn't attend.

Eventually, his hearing loss was so acute that he could no longer continue his work and he retired to Blackrock Road in 2006. Despite his deafness and being confined to a wheelchair, he lived quietly in St Theresa's and participated in the community activities as best he could, including daily Mass at 10.30am.

Without doubt, Fr Colum McKeogh will be remembered as a noted educationalist in Nigeria. He was an excellent teacher, with a wonderful sense of fun and when you saw a glint in his eye it was either that he was letting you know that he was not going to be taken in by you or else he was getting ready to say or do something for a bit of fun, particularly about Meath football.

Fr McKeogh would have celebrated 50 years as a priest this December.


John Connolly, Kildalkey

There was widespread sadness following the death on 7th March last of Mr John (Barney) Connolly, Cloneylogan, Kildalkey, at the age of 82, at St Joseph's Hospital, Trim. A native of Boardsmill, he was predeceased by his wife, Maureen, in March 2003.

Most of Mr Connolly's working life was spent in agriculture and he loved the outdoors and indeed nature in general. He will be remembered as a great friend and good neighbour, always there to help out when ever he was needed.

Deceased was a fine sports man and played in many junior and senor hurling championships for Boardsmill, with his late brother, Dick, and in later years he played hurling for Kildalkey. He was best known as 'The Skipper' in Boardsmill and 'Barney' in Kildalkey. His hobbies included gardening, reading, listening to Irish music, and watching sports. He was a great craftsman.

Mr Connolly will be remembered as a very quiet and gentle man with a warm smile and a much loved and loving father, grandfather and great grandfather. He is survived by his family, Caroline Warren, Trim, James Connolly, England, William Connolly, Trim, Elizabeth Tenanty, Athboy, Rita Quigley, Trim, Geraldine Monaghan, Athboy, Ann Marie Connolly, Kildalkey; sister, Betty Clarke, Bellewstown, Trim; sons-in-law, 17 grandchildren and nine greatgrandchildren.

The funeral took place from St Dympnas Church, Kildalkey, to St Loman's Cemetery, Trim.


David Wild, Headfort School

A memorial service takes place today (Wednesday) at Headfort School for the late Mr David Wild, former headmaster at the school, who passed away in November of last year.

Mr Wild was headmaster from 1950 to 1977 and was responsible for spearheading the development of the Headfort School over those three decades. A native of Devon and an Oxford graduate, he came to Headfort shortly after its establishment by Lord and Lady Headfort, as its second headmaster. The Headforts had originally envisaged the school as a secondary school, and it was Mr Wild who was of the opinion it would be better as a school for younger children, and steered it in that direction.

His position covered all the roles now carried out by the headmaster, director of studies, and bursar, all rolled into one. He retired to his native Devon, where he lived with his wife, Barbara, who survives him. He was in his nineties when he passed way, and was predeceased by his brother, Bill, who was a frequent visitor to Headfort.

The present headmaster, Dermot Dix, was among those who attended his funeral in Devon in November.

Today's service is at 3pm, and all past students former employees of the school and other members of the community who had an association with Mr Wild are welcome to attend. Anyone planning to attend should contact (046) 924 0065 to let the school know, so that they can anticipate numbers.


Brendan Conway, Skryne

There was widespread sadness recently following the untimely death of Mr Brendan Conway, Oberstown, Tara, aged 54. Mr Conway died at Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, after a short illness.

Deceased was employed by the Revenue Commissioners in Navan since the office decentralised there in 2008, until he became ill in April of this year. He previously worked in the Department of the Environment, Department of Agriculture and Department of An Gaeltacht.

Mr Conway devoted a lot of his free time to the People With Disabilities in Ireland (PWDI) association. He was treasurer of the Meath network, and will be remembered as a valued member of the organisation who was held in very high esteem. He was a keen supporter of the Skryne and Meath football teams.

Predeceased by his parents, Mary and James Conway, he is survived by his siblings, Bernie O'Byrne, Beauparc, Pauline Ruddy, Balrath, Marcella O'Grady, Castleknock, Christy Conway, Oberstown, Angela Burns, Navan, Jacinta Egan, Navan, Sarah Grimes, Navan, Paddy Conway, Oberstown, and Mary McCauley, New York; sisters-in-law; brothers-in-law; uncle; aunts; nieces; nephews; relatives; friends; and work colleagues.

The funeral took place on Friday 13th May from St Colmcille's Church, Skryne, to the adjoining cemetery. Fr Thomas O'Mahony, assisted by Monsignor Sean Heaney, PP, Tullamore, celebrated the Funeral Mass. A month's memory Mass will be held in St Colmcille's Church, Skryne, on Saturday 25th June at 7pm.


Denis Malone, Dunboyne

The death recently occurred, at his home, of Mr Denis (Dinny) Malone, Castleview, Dunboyne. He was 74.

A native of Lucan, Co Dublin, he worked for Abbey Films and Lucan Cinema. He was also a long-time member of the Royal Meath Pitch & Putt Club in Clonee.

Deceased is survived by his wife, Sheila; sons, John, Anthony and Stephen; daughters, Mary and Denise; son-in-law, daughters-in-law, grandchildren and great granddaughter.

Burial took place in Rooske Cemetery, Dunboyne, following the funeral Mass in SS Peter & Paul's Church, Dunboyne.


Sarah Carolan, Kilmainhamwood

Mrs Sarah (Dolsey) Carolan, Robertstown, Kilmainhamwood, Kells, who has died, was a member of the Farrelly family of Castletown.

Aged 90, she passed away at her residence. She was predeceased in 1990 by her husband, James.

Mrs Carolan is survived by her daughters, Mary O'Donnell, Castletown, Patricia O'Reilly, Gibbstown, Mary Lynch, Robertstown, Ann Carolan, Robertstown, Georgina Rogers, Tierworker; sons, Tom, Robertstown, Patsy, Robertstown, Sean, Nobber, Damien, Robertstown; brother, Willie, Malahide; sons-in-law; daughters-in-law; grandchildren; great grandchildren; relatives; friends; neighbours, as well as carers. She was predeceased by her son, Jim, in 2003.

The funeral took place from the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Kilbeg, to Staholmog Cemetery. A months memory Mass takes place on Saturday 25th June at 8pm, in Kilbeg.


Mark Cahill, Navan

The death of Mr Mark Cahill, Ashbrook, Navan, at the age of 46, was the source of sadness in Navan and surrounds. He passed away on 20th May at Our Lady's Hospital, Navan.

Deceased was a member of the Pegasus Motorcycle Club, Navan Boxing Club and the FCA. He also enjoyed horse racing and snooker.

Son of Marcella and the late John Cahill of Liscarton, Navan, he is survived by his mother, Marcella, Ashbrook; brothers, John, Claremont, David, Blackcastle Lodge; sisters, Mary Markey, Windtown, Vivienne, Claremont; brothers-in-law, Herbert Markey, Windtown and Vincent Donnelly, Claremont; sisters-in-law, Brenda Cahill, Blackcastle Lodge and Ellen Cahill, Athboy; nephews; nieces; relatives and friends. He was predeceased by his father, John, in 1984, and brother, John, in 2008.

The funeral took place from St Mary's Church, Navan, to St Mary's Cemetery. The Pegasus Club provided a guard of honour.


Mary Caffrey, Athboy

The regretted death occurred on 8th June last of Mrs Mary (Molly) Caffrey, Beechgrove, Athboy, aged 91, at Woodlands Nursing Home, Navan.

A native of Girley, Fordstown, deceased was a member of the Dunne family. She was predeceased by her husband, Philip, in 1985.

Mrs Caffrey is survived by her sons, Tom, Sean, Phil, Joe and Seamus; daughters, Mary, Ann, Noeleen; sisters, Kathy and Sheila; grandchildren; daughters-in-law; sons-in-law; relatives and friends.

The funeral took place from Girley Church to St Colmcille's Cemetery, Kells.


Gertrude Byrne, Drumree

The death on Saturday 11th June last of Mrs Gertrude Byrne, Tullameadow, Drumree, at Connolly Memorial Hospital, Blanchardstown, was the source of widespread sadness and regret.

Mrs Byrne was a member of the Quinn family of Kilbride and Meath footballing fame, and was wife of the late Tom Byrne, who passed away in 1978. She was a very keen follower of Meath football over the years, from the time her brothers played to the present day.

She is survived by her sons, Gerry, James, Pat, Ray, and TJ; daughters, Rita, Ger and Paula; brothers, Martin, Gerry, Jimmy and Jack Quinn; sister, Brenda McGuinness; nephews; nieces; relatives; neighhbours and friends.

The funeral took place on Monday morning of last week from the Church of the Assumption, Kiltale, to the adjoining cemetery. Fr David Brennan, Adm, Moynalvey, officiated.

A month's memory Mass takes place on Saturday 9th July at 6.30pm, in Kiltale.