Killesher bids goodbye to much loved community man

AS the sun streamed through the stained glass windows of St Patrick’s Church, Killesher on Thursday morning last, the life of James Cleary was celebrated by Fr Maurice McMorrow.
In the same church where James was baptised and welcomed into the world on July 3, 1930, family and friends gathered to say goodbye to one of their own.
James was a much respected and highly thought of member of the Killesher and Kinawley community. Liked by everyone who knew him and as Fr McMorrow so aptly recalled in his eulogy;
“He had a big beaming smile and he took delight in everything and everyone.”
James was the second child of Francie and Brigid (nee McManus), born on July 1, 1930. He married Babs (Margaret) nee Lynch, in 1962, the pair having met four years previous in the Wonderland Ballroom in Bawnboy. They were blessed with seven children, Fidelma, Mairead, Cormac, Tomás, Fergal, Nollaig and Sinead. James was first and foremost a family man. He and Babs created a happy home for their children and in later years for their 16 grandchildren whom they both loved dearly and took great pride in their success. Only three months ago he became a great-grandfather, or ‘great-grandpa’ as he was affectionately known, to twin girls, which brought great joy to James’ life.
In October 2013, James lost his wife Babs.
During the Requiem Mass, Fr McMorrow talked about the symbols brought to the altar by James’ grandchildren which epitomised his 91 years on this earth. His Rosary beads were symbolic of his deep faith until the end.
A picture of James and Babs, an apt reminder of the great love he had for his late wife, with whom he built a life and close-knit family in the townland of Drumcannon.
His cap was also among the gifts, rarely would James have been seen out farming without his cap. Life on the farm was a huge part of James’ life. The eldest son, he inherited the land in Killesher and alongside his equally hardworking wife Babs, they put in long hours as they built up their dairy and beef herd, not to mention the turkeys that graced many a local dinner table on Christmas Day.
James played a big role in community life, a long serving member of the parish committee, chairman of Killesher Primary School Board of Governors and a governor of St Aidan’s High School in Derrylin. An active member of St Joesph’s Young Priests Society and many will recall the famous Killesher Bazaar which James played an active role in organising.
Outside of family and friends, another ‘great love’ in James’ life was GAA, represented by the O’Neill’s ball brought to the altar. He played for Killesher, Belnaleck and latterly Kinawley Brian Boru’s and was inducted into the Kinawley GAA Hall of Fame in recent years.
James is predeceased by his sisters, Mary and Jennie and three brothers both named Francis and John.
He is survived by his sister Tessie (Haughey) who was in the congregation to bid a fond farewell to her dear brother, his children Fidelma, Mairead, Cormac, Tomás, Fergal, Nollaig and Sinead, as well as his grandchildren and great grandchildren.

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