John Coffey lived a remarkably full life

THE late John Coffey, whose funeral will take place in Killarney this evening and tomorrow, was a remarkable man who lived a full and hugely active life and recently celebrated his landmark 100th birthday.

His final year was very much in keeping with his energetic, event-filled lifetime as he put in a remarkably busy 12 months during which he fulfilled many public commitments to mark his centenary birthday in style.

He very recently presented the awards to the winners of the 2019 Killarney Looking Good competition and in the summer he was the official starter of the annual Ring of Kerry charity cycle.

One of this years very John Coffey at the launch of this year’s Ring of Kerry charity cycle with Mayor of Killarney Cllr Michael Gleeson.
Picture: Valerie O’Sullivan

Cycling, in fact, was a real passion of John’s throughout his long life and he was on his bike on a daily basis right up to his late 90s. Just last August he also participated in a charity spinning event to raise funds for the Irish Pilgrimage Trust.

John celebrated his 100th birthday with a bumper party at Killarney Golf and Fishing Club and he stole the show when he sang some of his favourite songs, including a rousing version of his favourite parody on the old William Blake hit Jerusalem.

He followed that with another party in the Dr Crokes clubhouse, organised by his friends and Lewis Road neighbours, where Mayor of Killarney, Cllr Michael Gleeson, presented him with the 100th birthday cheque from President Michael D Higgins.

John was the youngest of 12 children born to Jeremiah and Nora Coffey (nee O’Connell) in Carnahone, Beaufort on August 26, 1919. He initially worked as a rent collector before becoming a community welfare officer and he always had the best interests of those he cared for at heart.

He married Kitty O’Shea from Brandon, set up home in Brandon House on Lewis Road and they had five children, eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

John Coffey and his daughter Noreen enjoying a chat in the town he loved so well.
Picture: Valerie O’Sullivan

All through his life John Coffey never believed in doing anything by half measure and he had remarkable energy, stamina and willpower.

He kept very active by tending to his immaculate garden on Lewis Road which was named the best roadside garden prizewinner in the Killarney Looking Good competition.

He was regularly out with the paintbrush, in his familiar white work-coat, to hand paint the metal railings that surrounds his flower laden lawn and John was a very keen supporter of the activities of the local tidy towns group.

John Coffey passed away peacefully, after a short illness, in the Bons Secours Hospital, Tralee.

Predeceased by his wife, Kitty and sons Denis and John Joe, he is survived by his son Dermot and daughters Noreen and Mary, grandchildren Karen, Brian, Kevin, Aisling, Darina, Niamh, Shona and Liam and great-grandchildren Finn, Maeve, Evie and Rowan.

He is further survived by his daughters-in-law Marie and Catherine, son-in-law Franc, many other relatives and friends

Reposing at O’Shea’s Funeral Home, Killarney this Sunday evening from 4 o’clock to 6 o’clock, removal will take place afterwards to St Mary’s Cathedral. Requiem Mass will be on Monday at 10.30am with burial afterwards in Aghadoe Cemetery, Killarney.

Pictures: Valerie O’Sullivan. Click on individual images for details

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