Derry O Brien an Appreciation.
Dermot William O Brien,for this I believe was his birth name ,was one sound man.And I will tell you why.
First he and his wife Mary (Newman )had three children ,one sounder than the other.Ian and Eunice we all know,love and respect,but there is another who Derry is now hugging and cajoling in the Place where no pain exists and where the other Angels worship the Lord.
Denise (pet name Dolly ) was born with a cndition I cannot currently spell,which involved irreparable brain damage and massive physical disability and of which most sufferers die fairly promptly.
Yet the loving and incessant care lavished on their treasure by Derry,Mary,Ian ,Eunice the Newman family and neighbours resulted in her reaching her teens before she succumbed.A world record in compassion I believe.
They say that the most distressing pain a parent can suffer is the loss of a child.Derry and Mary suffered this pain.And never flinched nor sought sympathy.Ian nd Eunice suffered the loss of a sibling and it is perhaps no coincidence that Eunice chose nursing as a profession.
I have often wondered how Derry and Mary felt when they heard the womb raiders screeching for the murder of perfectly healthy preborn children as a right and have no doubt but that Derry and Mary have more decency in a discarded fingernail than the totality of these child killers.
Secondly Derry had to make a living all during his married life and help support his family .This he also did as well as shouldering the responsibility of massive shared care for Dolly.And he must have done it well because hundreds of his former colleagues in the old Dept,of Posts and Telegraphs formed a huge guard of honour at his packed funeral in Dunderry last Monday.
Thirdly he himself suffered in silence and with dignity for a good while prior to his death and he disguised it well.You would never think when you saw him picking up the grand kids at school that he was as sick as he transpired to be.Even towards the end he was the youngest and freshest 66year old I ever saw.
On a personal level I chose a different sporting path than Derry.I am a GAA man through and through.Derry was a soccer man and a referee of distinction I am told.I did see a few Soccer Blazers at the funeral.
His mother is a Heerey ,a most diverse and Sporting family.Two at least of his uncles played foot ball with Dunderry in the forties and fifties.Others were All Ireland champions in cycling,running and golf I understand.
In fact when I was in Navan Hospital as a result of a stroke four years ago an uncle of his was in the same ward as myself.He was a good conversationalist and as modest as be damn about the sporting achievements of his lifetime but he was sicker than I thought and died a short time afterwards.
Derry’s mother 95 years old attended his funeral , a mother burying a child who himself had buried a child.A most distressing occasion.
To his loving wife Mary,his children and his grandchildren and his siblings all in Dunderry offer their sincerest condolences.
Ar Dheis De go raibh a hanam.
The death has occurred of
Derry O’Brien Meadstown, Dunderry, Meath
Date of Death: Wednesday 11th December 2013
Following a long illness bravely borne in the loving care of his family and the staff of St. James’ Hospital, Dublin. Predeceased by his special little darling daughter Denise (Dolly) & his father Billy. Sadly missed by his loving wife Mary, son Ian, daughter Eunice, daughter-in-law Jackie, son-in-law Mark, his mother Rita, brothers Colm, Leo & John, grandchildren Jack, Conor, Evan, Isabel & Alice, brothers & sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, relatives & a large circle of friends.
Obituaries 7th June 2014
Derry O’Brien, Dunderry
Widespread sadness was felt throughout Meath and especially in Dunderry following the passing of Derry O’Brien, Meadstown, aged 65, in St James’ Hospital, Dublin, on 11th December last. A native of Navan, Derry moved to Dunderry in 1972 following his marriage to Mary Newman, and settled there. He was predeceased by his father, Billy and his very special daughter, Denise, age 21 in 2008. Along with his wife Mary, daughter Eunice and son Ian, he dedicated his life to caring for her with devotion and without any fuss or complaint, giving round the clock care and attention to her. The family chain was broken as was Derry’s heart forever when she passed away. However, there is some consolation for his family in knowing they are together again.
Derry bore his long illness with great courage, humour and dignity, never complaining and actually tricked most people into thinking he was well, when in actual fact he was far from being well. ‘I’m grand,’ he told everyone, but Mary knew that sadly that was not the case. Having being diagnosed in 2004 with a plastic anemia, a quite rare blood disorder where the body breaks down and fails to produce new bone marrow.
This proved difficult to treat but he was cared for by Prof S McCann, Dr Catherine and their large team both in Burkitt Unit and the Haematology Units in St James’ Hospital, Dublin. While in their care, Derry became part of this big family and being a larger than life person with great wit, charm and good humour used his many hospital stays and subsequently twice weekly visits for treatment and transfusions in the Day Ward with a party atmosphere, having the craic with the nurses, patients and staff and actually became good friends with them and patients from around the country. Being an eternal optimist, he was hoping to get on a trial drug programme or treatment plan but sadly it was not to be.
In his youth, Derry played Gaelic football with Simonstown Gaels, hurling with Navan O’Mahonys and soccer with Robinstown and Dunderry. After retiring from playing, Derry became a referee and then one of the founder members of Meath Branch of the Irish Soccer Referees Society in 1986 and continued as an accomplished referee at many levels having a zero tolerance policy which he certainly practised until he retired 25 years later. He loved what he did and loved life and that included his work in Eircom from which he took early retirement following his daughter’s death.
Derry loved and lived for his family and was a devoted husband, father, son and besotted grandfather. He enjoyed great times with his grandchildren and loved taking them to Ardsallagh at every available opportunity and visited his mother every night.
Derry’s life touched so many people and he made an everlasting impression on all those lucky enough to have known him especially through the family’s association with SOFT Ireland, a registered charity and support organisation for families of children born with Edwards and Pataus Syndrome.
He worked hard to help at the many fundraising coffee days, head shaves and cycles for the association and was an active Social Welfare officer for them for years. He was generous with his time and kindness and he had a wonderful warm personality. Derry welcomed everyone who called to his home and made them feel at home and comfortable.
His death has left a huge void in his family and in the lives of his friends and those lucky enough to have known him.
Derry lived a full and rewarding good life, always showing generosity and a willingness to help neighbours and friends and gave good advice whenever he could.
Crowds came to his home to say farewell and again large crowds attended his funeral Mass, which was celebrated by Fr Noel Horneck, with sacred music provided by Edel and Ann McKay. On his final journey, friends carried his coffin and his work mates in Eircom, colleagues from Referees Association and Dunderry Fair Day provided guards of honour.
Derry is survived by his wife, Mary; daughter, Eunice; son, Ian; son-in-law, Mark; daughter-in-law, Jackie; mother, Rita: brothers, Leo, Colm and John; sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, cousins aunts, uncles; grandchildren, Jack, Conor, Evan, Isabel and Alice, friends and neighbours.
The funeral took place from the Church of the Assumption, Dunderry, to Dunderry Cemetery.