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Death of an islander and ‘a giant of a man’

ONE of Fermanagh’s most colourful characters has died peacefully in hospital after a short illness.
John James Reihill from Derrylin Road, Lisnaskea, and formerly of Innishcorkish Island was 87 and was described as ‘a cornerstone for his family’, during the funeral Mass on Sunday.
Fr Jimmy McPhillips told mourners they were laying to rest an icon of what it means to be rooted in Christ.
“In this still divided and wounded country, and while we still struggle to heal the past, John Rehill saw no divisions, he saw no divides, he saw no orange or no green, all John saw was people.”
“I believe that we are laying to rest an icon of what it means to be rooted in Christ, and I know how much of a cornerstone John Rehill was for you his family in morals, and in how to live that Christian life today. 
“This morning we are saying good bye to a giant of a man, a giant yes in size, but also a giant in how we should live out this Christian faith. 
“The secret to the healing of this society of ours, and that is respect, respect of the other, acceptance that they too have a story to tell, and while different to yours, it is still as valid.” 
John was steeped in Irish culture  and had a great love of the Irish language, traditional music and song and dance, literature and history . 
He was a member of several organisations including the local Historical and Drama Societies and at one time he and his wife Sheila established a restaurant on their Innishcorkish Island.  He was also the author of a number of books including, ‘Reflections of an islander’.
John is survived by his sister Nancy Durnien.He was pre-deceased by his wife Sheila and daughter Grainne, who died in infancy. He was also pre-deceased by sisters Mary (McBrien), Ellie (Rooney) and Philomena.
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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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