Longford Leader Columnist Mattie Fox: The legendary Jimmy Magee was one of a kind

Mattie Fox

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Mattie Fox

Longford Leader columnist, Mattie Fox

On Wednesday, September 20, 2017, I learned that the great Jimmy McGee had passed away.

The outbreak of recollections, anecdotes, some a tad far fetched, most truly sorry and accurate, happened immediately all over the media.

Jimmy was a man apart, who will be sorely missed by those with whom he came into contact.

Many people don't realise that Jimmy was a key founding member of Release Records, back in the day when we were all incredibly innocent.

Even those who thought they knew it all at the time, were in fact disarmingly innocent.

Jimmy tapped into a music taste that had broad rural appeal, throughout Ireland, and pursued it with Release Records.

In many ways Jimmy was the brains that launched the ship, although never much to the foreground.

In time he became disillusioned with the recording business, but that's another story. He never became embittered; a great sign of a man.

Although seldom seen publicly he was in Release virtually every day in its formative years keeping his steady guiding hand on the tiller.

Jimmy became a legendary figure around town during the seventies, and outgrew Release, but that probably suited everyone involved.

Jimmy ploughed another field of endeavour and was renowned worldwide for his knowledge of sport, of all persuasions.

His ability to recall at the drop of a hat, scores, names, years, and achievements was truly an astonishing thing to behold.

He was the broadcaster without question every time a serious sports happening took place outside Ireland.

Barcelona, USA, England, Scotland, anywhere sports affairs needed an airing Jimmy Magee was despatched. RTÉ were lucky to have such a compendium of knowledge at its disposal anytime he was wanted.

I wouldn't seek to tell any stories about Jimmy, they’ve all been well told by the time you read this. In any case, it seems slightly opportunistic to tell tales and stories at such a time as this, however compelling they are.

I'd be more interested in his personal beliefs and his setbacks over the years which he handled so well. The death of his son Paul was one such, which stung him to the core. His wife's death also was a development that caused great sadness to Jimmy, who was a devoted husband, father and family man all his life.

They'd been very close, and when she departed he was for awhile quite lost. But that's human nature, and like most people he recovered to lead a happy, relatively normal life, continuing with his work diligently.

He was a man I regarded as a great friend, and like most of his acquaintances very saddened by his passing.

We’ll miss all the good times, and great side splitting laughs, with Jimmy.

One of a kind. RIP