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25 Jun 2022

'A great man of faith and family man,' Paddy O'Dwyer of Boherlahan fondly remembered

Rest in Peace, sir.

Tipperary Tipperary Tipperary

Paddy, as he was affectionately known, was son of the late Willie Joe and Bridie O’Dwyer

It was learned with a deep sense of loss and sadness in Boherlahan and surrounding areas on hearing of the death of Patrick O’Dwyer, Thurlesbeg, which occurred at his residence on Thursday, November 11, 2021.

Paddy, as he was affectionately known, was son of the late Willie Joe and Bridie O’Dwyer and hailed from a family of fourteen, two of whom died in infancy.

He had reached the age of 71 but for the past five years he had endured a lingering and debilitating illness with Christian faith and fortitude.

Paddy O'Dwyer, Rest in Peace 

During that time, he was lovingly supported at home by his devoted wife Margaret and his family. In that setting, he was enabled to cope with daily living and in the pursuits of his interests.

Paddy, who was based in Thurlesbeg all his life into a large family - all supportive of each other - had his roots firmly established there.

After attending Boherlahan National School, where the late Philip Ryan was principal, he then cycled to the Christian Brothers School in Cashel.

In 1967, after completing his Leaving Cert there, he went to Maynooth College, where he got a degree in History, Geography and Latin.

He taught for a while in Dublin and Monaghan before taking up a teaching post in the CBS Secondary School, Cashel, where he taught until 1994.

With the amalgamation of the three Cashel schools that year to form Cashel Community School, his teaching career continued until his retirement in 2008.

Many fine tributes were paid on his passing by his colleagues, as a loyal and sincere friend whose enthusiasm in fostering a love of learning was inspirational.

For a number of years, Paddy was co-ordinator of Transition Year which aims to promote the personal, social, educational and vocational development of the students and to prepare them for their role as responsible members of society.

He was in regular contact with colleagues and in February 2019 renewed his acquaintances of many of them when the Community School celebrated 25 years in existence at a special function in the Hotel Minella, Clonmel.

In July 1975, Paddy married Josephine Kennedy from Borrisoleigh and settled down in Thurlesbeg near his family home. The untimely death of Josephine at the age of 42 in 1989 was a source of great loss and sadness for him.

He had to adapt to a dual role of father and mother with the support of his family in caring for his three children.

In June 1995, he married Margaret Gleeson, a nurse by profession, from the parish of Templederry and so began a new chapter in his life, which enabled him to focus more in working for his community.

Paddy was involved in every aspect of parish life. Working in the field of education, he was on the Board of Management of the local school for many years.

He was also a valued member of Boherlahan Parish Council in working for the welfare of his community. In this role looking after FÁS workers, the running and maintenance of the Parish Hall and in the preparation for social events, he was always generous with his time and reaching out to others.

Like all young men growing up in Boherlahan with a great hurling tradition, Paddy wielded the camán and in 1971 secured a Junior hurling medal.

In 1980, when the Boherlahan Dualla GAA Club decided to form a Juvenile Club which would have responsibility for the coaching and training of juveniles of the parish, a committee was formed and Paddy was elected trainer and assisted by Paddy Wardick, Dualla.

Paddy will be especially remembered by the rich legacy left by his involvement with the Boherlahan Dualla Historical Journal since the first volume launched in 1998 when he was first a contributor and later a member of the Editorial Committee.

For the past 24 years it was a labour of love for him as he spent hours in research visiting the National Museum, Tipperary Library, old graveyards and historical sites as well as visiting people who could help him fulfil his dreams.

The aim of the Journal was to record for future generations the history, heritage and folklore of the parish.

It was a great honour for him and the Journal Committee when the Boherlahan Dualla Historical Journal was nominated for the Book of the Year Award in 2017.

Paddy was also a contributor to other publications for parish events in which he was actively involved. It was a great source of joy for him in 2000 taking part in the Millennium Pageant and seeing the re-enactment of history by the local community.

Ten years later when Open Air Oklahoma was staged, he enjoyed the friendship and banter at the rehearsals for its production.

In retirement, he took up carpentry and produced a number of furniture pieces.

He was one of nature’s gentlemen, highly organised for all his undertakings and paying great attention to detail. Above all, he was very humble and very approachable, always relaxed with a smile on his face.

He was a great man of faith inherited from his parents Willie Joe and Bridie and nurtured and lived throughout his life as he participated in church related activities.

He was a great family man and enjoyed the friendship and support of family and friends and especially his beloved grandchildren.

In latter years when ill-health set in he was lovingly supported by his wife Margaret who acted as his personal secretary for his research and writings.

On the weekend following his death, his remains were reposed at his home, where so many came to pay their last respects.

On Monday, November 15, 2021, his remains were removed to the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Boherlahan.

A Guard of Honour representative of the Boherlahan Dualla GAA Club and the Boherlahan Dualla Historical Journal accompanied the funeral cortège to the church grounds to join a Guard of Honour representative of former teaching colleagues, relatives and friends.

His Requiem Mass was celebrated by Fr Joe Egan PP and assisted by Fr George Bourke PP Moycarkey, Fr Bobby Fletcher PP New Inn, Fr Thomas Dunne CC Boherlahan Dualla.

The liturgy was enhanced by the beautiful singing rendered by Fr James Purcell PP Thurles (cousin of Paddy’s wife Margaret). Burial took place in Ardmayle Cemetery.

Fr Bernie Moloney PP Emly and former colleagues in Cashel Community School joined in the prayers at the graveside. Paddy is survived by his wife Margaret, by his sons Fergus and Kevin, his daughter Brenda Shanahan, his daughter-in-law Elaine, his sons-in-law James and John, his grandchildren Paddy, Ellen and Mira, his five brothers Dinny, Martin, Johnny, Gerry and Joey, his six sisters Una, Breda Lonergan, Mary O’Shea, Rosemary Greene, Carmel Kennedy and Teresa Purcell, his brothers-in-law, his sisters-in-law, uncle, aunt-in-law, nephews, nieces, relatives, neighbours and friends to whom sincere sympathy is extended.

Written by Lisa Stapleton

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