Wexford People - - NEWS | OBITUARIES -

NEWS OF the pass­ing of Michael Howlin (61) of Win­ning­town, Salt­mills, New Ross was met with im­mense sad­ness by all those who knew him. Michael passed away sur­rounded by his lov­ing fam­ily in Univer­sity Hhos­pi­tal Water­ford on Novem­ber 11.

A na­tive of Kil­more Quay, Michael was born on April 5, 1956; he was the youngest of 12 chil­dren born to Thomas and Kath­leen. As a young boy, he was ed­u­cated at Kil­more Na­tional School and went on to com­plete his sec­ond level ed­u­ca­tion at Bridgetown Vo­ca­tional School. Michael was re­mem­bered as ‘an ex­tremely bright young fel­low and a very fine crafts­man through­out his school­ing’.

‘Ad­mi­ra­tion’ and ‘strength’ are words that em­i­nently emerge in the minds of those who knew Michael.

Michael’s fam­ily ad­mired him in many ways but most sig­nif­i­cantly for the de­voted love and com­mit­ment he held for his wife Cather­ine or “Cathy, his an­gel” as he so of­ten re­ferred to her. They first met in Kelly’s Ho­tel, Ross­lare al­most 40 years ago. Michael, a hugely hand­some man with a fond­ness for danc­ing could have eas­ily been de­scribed as a young John Tra­volta of his day and Cathy was his danc­ing queen. They were the per­fect duo. They im­me­di­ately fell deeply in love and were mar­ried within that very year, at which point Michael left Kil­more Quay and started a life and fam­ily of his own in Win­ning­town, Salt­mills.

Mick and Cathy were hap­pily mar­ried for over 38 years and his love for her and their four chil­dren was im­mea­sur­able.

His chil­dren Frank, Michelle, Rose­leen and Da­rina ad­mired him greatly be­cause of the kind of fa­ther he was to them. He was a proud fam­ily man who worked hard to sup­port his fam­ily and al­ways en­cour­aged them to be the best that they could be.

Michael also in­stilled in his fam­ily a core value sys­tem that de­fined who he was - a man who was ex­tremely hard work­ing, who hon­oured com­mit­ment, who had in­tegrity, who was a re­silient, and ex­tremely brave and coura­geous man with an in­com­pa­ra­ble strength and willpower like no other. He was a mighty man with a mighty heart.

Michael will be fondly re­mem­bered as be­ing a knowl­edge­able and well-read man with a vast skill set; his knowl­edge and in­ter­ests spanned the ar­eas of lo­cal his­tory, hor­ti­cul­ture and gar­den­ing, ar­chae­ol­ogy, car­pen­try, ma­rine life and con­struc­tion to name but a few, and he had the abil­ity to per­fect any­thing he turned his hand to, such was his dili­gent and skil­ful na­ture.

Michael be­gan his work­ing life as a fish­er­man in Kil­more Quay. In later life, he turned his hand to con­struc­tion, ex­ca­va­tion and the restora­tion of many his­tor­i­cal sites around the county in­clud­ing the lo­cal his­tor­i­cal land­mark, Dun­can­non Fort. His pas­sion led him to de­liver guided tours around the sites at which he ex­celled, so much so, that he even ap­peared on TV do­ing this job. He had a great in­ter­est in Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment and pol­i­tics like his late fa­ther Cllr. Tommy Howlin, of whom he was im­mensely proud.

Michael’s work­ing life was a great suc­cess; whether it was phys­i­cal or aca­demic, he mas­tered it. Fam­ily and friends de­scribed him as ‘the ul­ti­mate busi­ness man with the ap­ti­tude of a hu­man cal­cu­la­tor’.

Michael was also a very ac­com­plished sports man. He was an ‘An­chor Man’ in Kil­more’s no­to­ri­ous All Ire­land Tug of War team - a true re­flec­tion of the type of per­son Michael was - strong and sup­port­ive in ev­ery as­pect of his life.

Michael was also a su­perb ath­lete and won many a com­pet­i­tive race. As a young man, he en­tered the Kil­more Mile ev­ery year ‘just to win it for the craic’. He also had a great love of boxing. A gifted boxer, he had speed, power and skill – he was un­stop­pable. At 17, he boxed in an ex­hi­bi­tion fight against an Olympic boxer who ad­mit­ted de­feat, throw­ing in the towel.

Sport­ing pun­dits be­lieved he would have had the qual­ity to box at an elite level, ev­i­denced by the many tro­phies and medals to match his achieve­ments.

Michael’s big hearted pres­ence will be missed by many.

Friends will miss his sto­ry­telling and his or­ganic jokes, his hi­lar­i­ous im­per­son­ations, in­fec­tious hu­mour and his com­pany. Michael was a great talker and singer and when­ever he at­tended fam­ily gath­er­ings, he could be heard at deci­bels above ev­ery­one else; he was, without doubt, the life and soul of a party.

Michael’s wife, Cather­ine will miss hav­ing her best friend, pro­tec­tor and hus­band by her side.

At his funeral mass, Michael’s son Frank and daugh­ter Michelle said: ‘We have a mil­lion mem­o­ries and anec­dotes of my dad; some will sadly fade away with time. How­ever his legacy of lov­ing sup­port, re­spect and fierce devotion will con­tinue to send rip­ples through our lives and if we hon­our this legacy, the lives of gen­er­a­tions to come. We will miss our fa­ther, the source of our con­vic­tions. We will miss our in­spi­ra­tion. We love you dad and al­ways will.’

Michael’s Re­quiem Mass was cel­e­brated by Mon­signor Don Kenny St. James’ Rams­grange. Also present on the al­tar was Fr. McGrath, former P.P. Sa­cred Heart Church, New­bawn and Fr. Caulfield P.P. St Peter’s Church, Kil­more Quay.

The read­ers were Michael’s son in law, Barry and Michael’s sis­ter, Rose; Prayers of the Faith­ful were re­cited by his brother, Noel, sis­ters Deirdre and Josephine and niece, El­iz­a­beth. Sym­bols sig­ni­fy­ing Michael’s life were brought to the al­tar by Michael’s fam­ily and friends.

The large crowds who at­tended his funeral were tes­ta­ment to the af­fec­tion and re­spect in which he was held by all who knew him.

Mu­sic played a big part in the ser­vice with the som­bre oc­ca­sion fur­ther un­der­lined by a ren­di­tion of ‘Amaz­ing Grace’ on bag­pipes as Michael was laid to rest in the ad­join­ing cer­e­mony.

Michael’s heart­bro­ken fam­ily would like to ex­press their sin­cere grat­i­tude for the many thoughts, prayers and well wishes they have re­ceived over the past few weeks.

He is deeply mourned and sadly missed by his beloved wife Cather­ine; his son, Frank; daugh­ters, Michelle, Rose­leen and Da­rina; his son-in-law Barry; Sabrina and Dar­ragh; mother in law, El­iz­a­beth; brothers, sis­ters, nieces and neph­ews and a wide cir­cle of good neigh­bours and friends.

His months mind will be cel­e­brated on Satur­day, De­cem­ber 9 at 7 p.m. in ‘Our Lady’ Star of the Sea Church, Dun­can­non.

Michael’s warm and car­ing pres­ence will en­dure in the hearts of his fam­ily and friends for­ever.

May he Rest in Peace.

The late Michael Howlin.

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