Geldof says a final goodbye to an 'extraordinary' father
Published 01/09/2010 | 05:00
HE was a man who "lived the life of the country", had no fears and maintained a natural antipathy to authority.
Bob Geldof yesterday gave a heartfelt goodbye to his father, Bob Geldof Snr, an "extraordinary man" who died last week aged 96.
Hundreds of people filled St Joseph's Church in Glasthule, Co Dublin, and joined the Live Aid founder, his sisters, daughters and extended family to pay a final tribute to Bob Snr, who died at St Vincent's hospital in Dublin last Thursday.
In a lengthy tribute at the end of the funeral, Geldof told how his father had lived "a great, exceptional, ordinary life" in which he was open to all people and enjoyed a huge popularity because he had "no snobbery" and "utter respect for each individual".
In addition, however, he was a "flusterer" with a vast energy who constantly needed something to do.
"My missus is constantly saying what an elegant man (he was). Elegance, you can see, is the thing I didn't take from my father," Geldof told the congregation to laughter.
After working in catering in London, Bob Snr returned to Ireland where he worked as a manufacturer's agent who had three children -- Bob, Cleo and Lynn -- with wife Eve. But an "atomic bomb" hit the family when Eve died aged just 40 when Bob was just seven.
There were some rough periods between father and son, Geldof said, but "at no point did he ever stop me saying, doing or acting the way I did and you have to be pretty flexible to have a child like that".
The musician also paid tribute to his two sisters.
"I should begin by saying to you of my absolute amazement at my two sisters and all they did for my father. I was away for most of the time and I really didn't want to know about that stuff. While they made his life, all his life, a great joy and pleasure I can't really say the same about myself," he said.
When his parents met, his mother was already engaged but his father wouldn't take no for an answer and the matter was settled by a boxing match with her fiance.
"My father won and here we are," Bob said. After his mother died Bob said there were "many, many weekends, (where) my sisters remember this muffled weeping and the enormity of the loss, the pain" that his father experienced.
"Dad knew that death was a continuity of life. He was absolutely secure in the knowledge that he was going to meet the towering exuberant love of his life, my mum," said Geldof.
The pair would joke, however, that when his father met his mother again he would be aged 96 while his mother would still be 40.
St Joseph's was filled to capacity as the funeral cortege left the nearby Quinn's funeral home just before midday. Just as he had wished before he died, Bob Snr's casket was carried into the church with the sounds of the Angelus ringing. Among the mourners who joined Geldof and his sisters were his partner Jeanne Marine and daughters Fifi Trixibelle, Pixie, Peaches and Tiger Lily -- the daughter of the late Paula Yates and INXS singer Michael Hutchence.
Geldof added: "There are more people in this church than come to one of my f***ing gigs."
The other mourners included Ali Hewson, Bono's wife; Labour TD Michael D Higgins, and the Taoiseach's aide-de-camp Michael Treacy.