Longford Leader Obituary: Killashee's Mike Neary was a wonderful role model

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Longford Leader Obituary: Killashee's Mike Neary was a wonderful role model

The late Mike Neary

Killashee lost one of its favourite sons with the death of Michael (Mike) Neary recently.

He was a wonderfully kind, inoffensive and easy going man who devoted his life to his work and his family. It is true to say that he rarely left Killashee, but in later years delighted in days out with the family. His loving family do however remember one trip to England when they travelled with JP Farrell to buy a tractor.

Mike grew up in his beloved Ballinakill with his close family members, Robert, Pat, Maura, Bridie and Maura Fallon. He spent his childhood with Robert and Pat becoming the brothers that he had lost.

Mike was a wonderful role model for his family and in more recent years his beloved grandchildren. He had wonderful traits and values that he quietly helped instil in all around him. He was very honest and delighted in hard work. One of his greatest attributes though was a devilish sense of humour and those who knew him best can rarely recall him in bad humour.

With his beloved wife, Cella, they cultivated a loving family home but the biggest loss and heartbreak for the devoted couple was the loss of their daughter, Trisha. It was a hard blow for Mike but he soldiered on and dedicated himself to caring for his family. And as they made their way through life he was always keen to get regular updates where ever they were in the world.

Once when working in London, Dorothy remembered a colleague in a very posh London accent, telling her that there was a call from a “man with a very strong Irish accent”. It was, of course, Mike checking up on his daughter.

Mike was rarely angry, but he did have his pet hates and foremost amongst them were bad language, smoking and lies! He always kept himself up to date with news and current affairs and was especially pleased when an additional 50c was added to the cost of cigarettes in the recent budget. He had an amazing bond with his grandchildren. All thirteen of them had a very special place in Mike's heart and he was with them every step of the way as they set out on their adventures through life. He wanted to hear all the successes and was always a kind ear if things didn't go according to plan. But much as he would have told his own children, any deviation from the truth was met with a “that's a big fat lie”.

Family was hugely important to Mike and he enthusiastically greeted the arrival of each of his daughters-in-law and sons-in-law. For Mike, they immediately became part and parcel of the family and over the years he developed a wonderful relationship with each of them.

Himself and Cella were great dancers and over the years would have competed in and excelled in competitions. They were happiest doing a quick step or a waltz and they truly were a loving couple with a cross word rarely spoken.

Mike was a tireless worker all his life and spent many years on Bord na Móna. Often he would have worked the night shift only to come home and do another day's work on the farm. Like many of his generation, he was also very practical and once during a heavy snow storm in the 1980s, the car got caught in a drift outside Kenagh and he had to walk ten or so miles home in the driving snow. The children woke in the middle of the night to see him coming in with Enda’s mass serving clothes on his head for protection.

For the young children growing up in Ballinakill, they used to listen out for him to rattle the Bord na Móna rail wagons at the nearby level crossing. That was the signal to drop all and race down to meet him at the tracks for a jaunt on the carriage into Lanesboro power station. It was a timeless and magical memory for them.

He loved rural life and the farm and was always especially proud of his livestock. Whether it was time to sell or not, he obsessed about cattle prices and he liked nothing better than to get a blow by blow account of activity from the latest mart.

He had a great affinity with nature and loved to feed the birds and the annual 'first cuckoo' call was a highlight of the year for all in the Neary house. As children, there was a magical quality about the walks across the vast bog with their father and the dog. For the young Nearys growing up, their father was a treasure trove of happy memories. He helped make the ordinary and mundane special and would have delighted in asking them to open up their sums' copies, so he could see "how many duck eggs they got!"

The simple things in life made Mike happy and foremost was family and friends. He had a special bond with Fr Joe McGrath from his time in the parish and rarely missed the priest's Sunday morning show on Shannonside while Cella was gone to mass. The shows were extra special if Fr Joe played one of his requests and Mike loved to hear Fr Joe read out "the lovely Ballinakill on the the banks of the Shannon”.

Anytime Cella might have been away the girls typically felt sorry for Mike and invited him around. However keen that he didn't offend anyone, he'd set off in a loop, stopping at each house, and by the time he would have made it to Rita's house, he would have eaten for the week!

Mike was always busy but loved to relax at night and watch the news or music programmes on TG4. He loved nothing more than having a Bailey's by the range with Cella. He never complained about his illness, and faced it with courage. Even throughout his illness he tried to protect his family. He did not want to be a burden. He had a great bond with his night nurse, Deirdre, and sometimes it was a case of 'who was nursing who'. One night he said to her “Deirdre, you look tired, you could do with a sleep”. It was so very typical of a man who always put others first.

The late Mike Neary was pre-deceased by his daughter, Patricia Duignan, and he passed away peacefully at home in Ballinakill on October 12, surrounded by his loving family. He will be sadly missed and remembered with love by his wife, Cella; daughters Eilish (Feeley), Dorothy (Boylan), Trudy (Farrell) and Rita (Phillips); his sons, Michael and Enda; daughters-in-law, sons-in-law, brother-in-law, sisters-in-law, grandchildren, relatives and friends. His remains reposed at Glennon's Funeral Home before removal to St Patrick's Church for Mass of the Resurrection and interment afterwards in Ballinakill Cemetery.