'We won't see his like again'-tributes pour in for late Arva man John Leddy

Kindness and self-sacrificing nature epitomised larger than life local character

Liam Cosgrove

Reporter:

Liam Cosgrove

Email:

liam.cosgrove@longfordleader.ie

John Leddy RIP

The late John Leddy

“He was just an awesome fella, a true gent, and someone who would give you his last €10.”

They were just some of the litany of tributes to be paid this week to Arva man John Leddy who passed away suddenly on July 26 last.

Though a proud native of Tycusker, Cornafean, the 64-year-old was readily viewed as being a much loved and respected member of the Arva community where he set up home in more recent years.

With such a unique and charming persona, it was perhaps not surprising John became a well known fixture in wider hospitality arena, serving as a barman in a number of well known Dublin establishments.

John’s love and appreciation for home was never far from his thoughts however, culminating in his return to Cornafaen and latterly Arva around seven years ago.

His carefree, obliging nature ensured it wasn’t long before John held down a number of roles by helping out on farms, in the bog and with local builders.

There were spells also with FÁS (now Solas), something which gave John much pleasure and self satisfaction especially in the lead up to the annual Tidy Towns Competitions.

Local Arva Correspondent Barney Cully said the huge crowds who turned out at his Funeral Mass was testimony to his enduring legacy.

“To be honest, I have never heard so many speak so well of someone that has died,” said Mr Cully.
But it wasn’t just in professional life that John appeared to thrive in. The same depiction could also be levelled in the direction of those who conversed with John socially.

A regular frequenter to many of the town’s licenced premises, the gentile Cavan native always had a friendly smile and a welcoming outstretched hand at the ready.

“He would never use foul language and was a total gent,” added Mr Cully.

The local bakery owner was likewise at pains to recall an encounter John experienced at the now closed Gilsenan’s Bar (Gillie’s) on the town’s Market Square.

“It’s well known that he (John) got the lend of €10 off Brian Gilsenan at the time and split it by giving it to two kids who were after coming in that he didn’t even know,” said Mr Cully.

“That was him, that was John.”

His sister Frances ironically relayed the same story when asked to give her own thoughts on how history would remember him.

“He would empty his pockets to children,” she remarked, her voice wavering ever so slightly as she pondered.

Such compassion was just one of John's many captivating traits which endeared him to so many.

It was also a contributing factor behind his elevation to the role of Lord Mayor of Arva on more than one occasion, a badge of honour he took particular pride in.

“He had an eventful life really and would you believe, he never had a sick day in his life until last September,” added Frances.

One of his more favoured haunts was The Goalpost situated on Arva’s Main Street.
Two days after John’s sudden passing at Cavan General Hospital, its proprietor Enda Boylan posted a picture on Facebook of half a dozen pints of Guinness positioned across its front bar.

The picture was accompanied with the post: “All on John.”

That precipitated more than 200 ‘likes’ to the page with a further picture of John carried below attracting a further 350 ‘likes’ and 90 comments from members of the public.

Many of those lauded John’s magnanimous, self sacrificing disposition, evidenced by recent confirmation that one of John’s lasting wishes was to help save the lives of others through organ donation.

“It’s not surprising,” confided Enda. “If there was someone that needed a kidney he would give them it.

“After his Funeral the other day , there must have been 20 lads that were in the bar reminiscing about all the places he had worked over the years.”

“He was a good old friend surely and a good old character.

“And I don’t think we will see the likes of him again.”

The late John Leddy was laid to rest at Coronea Cemetery recently following Funeral Mass at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Coronea.

He is survived by his sister Frances Brady, brother Bernard, brother in law Paddy, cousins, extended

family and a wide circle of friends and neighbours.