Fam­ily man of strong faith who loved sport and mu­sic

JoeCof­fey 1935-2020

The Irish Times - - Obituaries - PATSY McGARRY

It would not be an ex­ag­ger­a­tion to say that a high­light of Joe Cof­fey’s long life was at­tend­ing the fa­mous Mun­ster win over the All Blacks at Thomond Park in 1978. He loved sport, es­pe­cially if Lim­er­ick or Mun­ster were play­ing, whether that be in rugby, hurl­ing or soc­cer.

Back in the 1960s and 70s he was very in­volved with the Com­mu­nity Games and co-man­aged the lo­cal soc­cer team in Grey­stones, off the En­nis Road in Lim­er­ick. This in­cluded bring­ing play­ers to games. “It was amaz­ing how many foot­ballers you could get into a Ford Es­cort Es­tate in those days,” says his son John. He also or­gan­ised sev­eral Ir­ish mu­sic char­ity fundrais­ing events.

He played golf and in re­tire­ment was a mem­ber of both Kil­rush and Kil­kee Golf Clubs. Joe en­joyed sum­mers in Kil­kee, swim­ming at Byrnes’s Cove, golf­ing with the ‘se­niors’, or walk­ing along the West End. He was also an en­thu­si­as­tic sup­porter of Kil­kee Civic Trust, their an­nual Arts in Fo­cus evenings and count­less mu­sic events. He loved mu­sic and books as much as sport, and had a pas­sion for his­tory.

Born John Joseph Mary Cof­fey at St Mary’s par­ish Lim­er­ick in June 1935, he was the only son of Jack and Lily Cof­fey. He had two sis­ters, Mary and He­len. After school he served his time as a fit­ter and turner in Shan­non Foundry be­fore spend­ing 35 years with Ir­ish Ce­ment in Castle­mu­ngret.

In 1961, he mar­ried Martha Ryan and they had five chil­dren, John, Colin, Sharon, Caro­line and Joseph. Baby Caro­line died in 1973 at just 11 days old. Martha died in 2004.

Gifted with his hands, Joe spent end­less hours in the work­shop at the end of his gar­den in Grey­stones. He be­came a master model boat builder in his re­tire­ment.

In those fi­nal years he was af­fected by de­men­tia but he still en­joyed mu­sic and was known for his say­ings. Favourites were “Deo Vo­lente” (God will­ing), “go n-éirí an bóthar leat” or his ver­sion of “If I had a head of cab­bage I would split it in two. The leaves I would give to many but the heart I would give to you”. A typ­i­cal re­sponse from Joe, when any­one in­quired if he was hav­ing a good day, would be “I en­joy ev­ery day”.

On May 3rd, Joe died with Covid-19 at Ne­nagh Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal in Co Tip­per­ary. A man of strong faith, it was par­tic­u­larly sad that he was de­prived of a Church fu­neral due to cur­rent re­stric­tions. His fam­ily are most grate­ful to all who looked after him at the En­nis Road Care Fa­cil­ity, at Univer­sity Hos­pi­tal Lim­er­ick, at Ne­nagh Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal, as well as to Thomp­son Fu­neral Direc­tors in Lim­er­ick.

‘‘ Gifted with his hands, Joe spent end­less hours in the work­shop at the end of his gar­den in Grey­stones. He be­came a master model boat builder in his re­tire­ment

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