Thomas O’Connor, Glouria (9/09/1959 – 6/07/2016)
My father was an extraordinary man. He led an extraordinary life and had extraordinary ways. He will be missed in a way greater than any words can explain. Since his death on July 6th, our lives have been met with unintelligible loss.
My father will forever be missed.
Thomas Kieran O’Connor was born in Glouria, Lisselton to parents, Patrick and Mary (nee Walsh, Lenamore, Ballylongford) in 1959. A native of Glouria, his love was always for the land and the outdoors. More than nature and the freedom of fresh air, Tom loved his family more than life itself.
Tom grew up with his brother, Connie (RIP) and sisters, Maureen and Eileen. Two other siblings, Jim and Margaret, died in infancy. He attended Coolard National School and then went on to Listowel Technical School for a short time. At a young age Tom went to work, milking cows at Fitzgerald’s, later roofing and then began his role in Kerry Group which lasted for thirty-two years up until he took ill in 2013.
Tom was a hard-working man and always enjoyed the craic with his many friends. It was something he missed when he was on leave and appreciated the kindness and continued presence of his treasured colleagues who visited our home or met up in The Kingdom for a pint or “The Eggstand” as he famously christened it.
Tom always worked the family farm in Glouria and was a man who always favoured a Zetor. He had a 1978 Zetor Crystal 8011 with which he drew bales and brought home the turf from Dirha bog on many occasions. His famous tractor was his old 20 diesel Ferguson on which he had great enjoyment, complete with his straw hat, spreading manure. His most recent and comfortable Zetor 7441 brought him peace as, on some of his lowest days, he went out for a leisurely drive in the locality.
A lover of the simple things in life, Tom always took great satisfaction in what he had and, whether it was a streak of bacon or a Mint Aero, he was content.
Tom met his life-long partner, Jane in 1979 and after a seven-year romance, married in October 1986. They were the definition of best friends and gave marriage true meaning. In both sickness and in health they were inseparable. Patrick was born in 1988, Deirdre in 1995 and twins, Maria and Margaret in 1996. To say Tom was a family man is an understatement. He did all of the things that great fathers do. The light of his life were his grandchildren, Jack and Mollie. Having to spend a lot of time at home, they were a great source of strength to battle his illness. He had an exceptional love for them and they in turn adored him. He loved his faithful friend, Missy also, even though he swore he would never get a dog!
Tom carried himself in a way that others admired. Defeat wasn’t in his vocabulary, never a pessimist, always the optimist. He continued to live life the way he always did. He was ever witty and even humorous as he would make light of a situation with his one-liners. He found a strength that his family admired. His illness will not be what we will dwell on, as it is not what defined him. He always defied the odds. He was small in stature but a giant in every way imaginable. He was brave, exceptional and daring. Most of all he was nothing less than heroic.
Our father was taken from us at the young age of fifty six. The light of our lives is gone. The centre of our world no more. His shoes by the stove, the tractor in the farmyard, an empty bed and a little less laughter. We are grateful for the time shared and the memories will forever live on. We are left with an unconscionable feeling of emptiness and a huge void that nobody will ever fill.
We are proud of our father and glad he has found peace.
(Maria O’Connor on behalf of the O’Connor family)
Walk a little slower Daddy,
said the child so small,
I’m following in your footsteps
and I don’t want to fall,
sometimes your steps are very fast,
sometimes they are hard to see,
so walk a little slower, Daddy,
for you are leading me.
Someday when I am all grown up,
you are what I want to be,
then I will have a little child
who will want to follow me.
I would want to lead just right
and know that I was true,
so walk a little slower, Daddy,
for I must follow you!