'Force of nature' honoured with military funeral
Published 05/11/2015 | 02:30
A union of three families gathered to say a final farewell to Lieutenant Colonel Jack Griffin, a father and husband, military man and GAA stalwart, who tragically died at the weekend.
His grief-stricken wife Trisha and their three young daughters, were joined by Lt Col Griffin's military family, as well as his family from his beloved Thurles Sarsfields hurling club where he was a coach and selector, at the Cathedral of the Assumption in Thurles, Co Tipperary, for his funeral Mass yesterday.
The 47-year-old - who was hailed as the "best husband, father, brother and friend" - was tragically killed after he was struck by a car while he was out jogging close to his home in Thurles last Saturday afternoon.
Lt Col Griffin's remains arrived at the cathedral shortly before 1pm, bringing the busy town to a standstill. His remains were flanked by men and women from Thurles Sarsfields.
His GAA family passed his coffin over to his military family in the church yard, who then hoisted his remains - draped in the Tricolour - onto their shoulders.
The military pallbearers were comprised of colleagues from the 63rd Cadet class with whom he had trained.
Behind them his devastated family followed into the packed church.
They were joined by Defence Minister Simon Coveney, junior minister Tom Hayes, and the Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces, Vice Admiral Mark Mellett.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny and President Michael D Higgins were represented by their aide-de-camps.
The military funeral was concelebrated by Fr Martin Hayes and Fr PJ Somers, the military chaplain.
Lt Col Griffin's close friend and colleague, Lt Col Caimin Keogh, delivered a heartfelt eulogy in which he remembered the deceased as a "force of nature, a one of a kind, a loving father and husband, a family rock and a friend to cherish".
"Jack was a true and loyal friend. His passing has stunned us all and this tragedy makes no sense. Jack was a man's man, but amongst his women he was in his element," he said.
"I know it would have been no ordinary thunderbolt that would have been able to prise Jack away from those that he loved the most.
"He would have fought to the bitter end to extend his stay."
In his 29-year career, Lt Col Griffin served on overseas missions in the Congo, Lebanon and Chad.
At the time of his death, he was serving in Brussels with the EU military staff and director general, Lt General Wolfgang Wosolsob, who also attended the funeral.