Gen­tle soul who loved the sim­ple things in life

Bernard (Ben) Tormey 1934-2020

The Irish Times - - Obituaries - SORCHA POL­LAK

Bernard (Ben) Tormey was a gen­tle, kind-hearted and gen­er­ous man who lived a sim­ple and un­com­pli­cated life and was loved by his sib­lings, nieces and neph­ews.

Born into a fam­ily of nine chil­dren in Au­gust 1934, Ben grew up on Coburg Place off Seville Place in Dublin. He left school aged 14 shortly after his fa­ther’s death and fol­lowed in his older brother’s foot­steps to work in the Dublin rail­ways – a job he would re­main in for 40 years.

“I be­lieve he was very good at school but back then you went out to work at the first op­por­tu­nity you got so you could con­trib­ute to the fam­ily,” says his niece Natalie Di­neen. “It was a large fam­ily and they wouldn’t have had much, they just got on with it.”

Ben loved to read and was par­tic­u­larly in­ter­ested in Amer­i­can his­tory. “He never trav­elled and never had a pass­port but he was al­ways fas­ci­nated with Amer­i­can mu­sic and artists.”

Ben never mar­ried and lived with his sis­ter Kath­leen (also sin­gle) and mother in their flat on Dunne Street be­fore mov­ing to Ra­heny later in life. His niece re­calls how he some­times men­tioned a woman he loved dur­ing his youth. “I re­mem­ber him say­ing, ‘some­day I’ll tell you, she was the love of my life.’ But he never re­ally spoke about it, he was a very pri­vate man.”

After he moved to Ra­heny, Ben en­joyed tak­ing walks in St Anne’s Park, where he of­ten sat in the rose gar­den and chat­ted to passersby. He con­tin­ued to live with his sis­ter Kath­leen but strug­gled to look after him­self after she died five years ago.

He quickly set­tled into the Tara Winthrop nurs­ing home when he moved there two years ago. “The only rea­son he went to Tara Winthrop was be­cause he was di­a­betic and couldn’t look after him­self any­more. He had been lonely but they looked after him so well in the cen­tre, the peo­ple there were amaz­ing.”

Ben loved his fam­ily, read­ing his books, tak­ing walks and a few pints of Guin­ness, says Natalie. “I al­ways thought he missed out on trav­el­ling but I don’t think he thought of it that way; he just en­joyed the sim­ple life. He was a such a gen­er­ous, kind-hearted soul.”

Ben died on March 25th aged 85.

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His niece re­calls how he some­times men­tioned a woman he loved dur­ing his youth. “I re­mem­ber him say­ing, ‘some­day I’ll tell you, she was the love of my life.’ But he never re­ally spoke about it.’

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