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Thursday 18 September 2014

Well-known Colm had an outgoing nature and infectious good humour

Published 21/11/2012 | 09:15

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Colm Hughes, 1924 - 2012

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COLM HUGHES, Mounthamilton, Ardee Road, Dundalk, died peacefully in St. Oliver Plunkett Hospital on November 5 just two weeks after the death of his beloved wife, Sally.

Aged 87, Colm had the unique distinction of being appointed the first Advertising Representative for both The Argus and Dundalk Democrat newspapers and was an extremely popular and likable character who made a host of genuine friendships over the years.

Sadly, he had been a patient in St. Oliver's Hospital for the last six years and the poignancy of his death just two weeks after his wife Sally's was referred to by Fr. Paul Montague in his eulogy, for over the duration of his stay in St. Oliver's, Colm was visited on a daily basis by Sally.

The second eldest of a family of eight of Jack and Brigid Hughes from Fane Valley, Colm was educated at Darver N.S., and Dundalk Technical school.

When he left school he went to work with his father, who was then one of the biggest, if not the biggest, on course bookmakers on the Irish horse racing scene, standing at all the major meetings. He also had a bookmakers office in Anne Street in Dundalk.

That love of racing, and indeed the whole betting scene, was therefore part of a way of life for Colm from his youth, and remained an integral part of his life thereafter. For many years he worked for prominent bookmaker, Harry Barry, running his Kells and Navan offices at weekends and big race festivals, and Colm's renowned adroitness with figures, especially when it came to working out the betting odds, meant that he was one of the best bookmaking clerks around.

He took out his own bookmakers licence and stood at Dundalk Greyhound Track on the Ramparts and afterwards operated a bookmakers office on the Ramparts in partnership with others, including his brother, Kevin and Ollie Mackin.

He also owned greyhounds himself and nothing pleased him more than getting one of his dogs over the line first, especially when he had a punt on the dog.

Not surprisingly Colm loved the a punt himself, but he always relished the social outlet that attendance at the dogs and racing meetings provided, especially his annual visit to Clonmel where he made friends from all over Ireland and participated in the legendary card schools.

Gaelic games and Irish heritage were always part of the Hughes family culture, and Colm was a keen supporter of Louth football, attending games regularly. His brother, Paddy was one of the game's top referees, while another brother, Jack, is deeply involved in the GAA in Dublin and a brother-in-law, Michael McDonnell played with Louth in the 1953 All-Ireland semi-final.

Colm joined The Argus in the late 1950s as the paper's first Advertising Representative and worked for the best part of ten years with the paper. At the time the paper was edited by W.G. Hussey and Colm made an important contribution in helping the paper to establish itself in the North Louth area.

Later he joined the Democrat, then edited and owned by Tom Roe, and again he was the paper's first Advertising Representative, and because of his outgoing personality he built up a strong bond with traders and businesses all over the region.

Colm met his wife Sally (neé Perkins) at a local dance and, last year, the couple celebrated the 60th anniversary of their marriage with a Mass in St. Oliver's Hospital. They resided in Muirhevna after their marriage and in 1966 Colm and Sally gave up their family home and purchased 'Failte Guest House' at the junction of the Avenue and Dublin Roads. For over 20 years, Colm, with Sally at his side, built up the business to become one of the most successful guesthouses in the region.

Colm and Sally retired from the guesthouse to their new home on the Ardee Road where they were very generous hosts. Colm inherited his love of cards from his parents and he shared that passion with Sally throughout their lives. They also shared a love of their holiday home in Gyles Quay which they tastefully restored over the years.

When he retired from 'Failte House', Colm renewed his interest in golf and was a member of Dundalk Golf Club, taking a prominent role during social occasions, especially choir nights for he was an enthusiastic member. He also travelled extensively with Sally during their retirement.

Colm will be remembered with great fondness by very many people, for his outgoing nature and infectious good humour made it impossible to resist his charm. He never allowed himself to be weighed down by every day burdens and displayed an extremely generous nature in very many ways that he always preferred to keep hidden.

He will be deeply mourned not just by his brothers, sisters, nephews and nieces, to whom he was a true friend, but also by the staff of St. Oliver's where he was lovingly cared for over the last six years.

Colm is survived by his brothers, Kevin (Knockbridge) and Jack (Dublin), sisters, Monina Nagle ( Wicklow) and Briege Dullaghan (Darver), nephews, nieces, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, relatives and friends.

He was predeceased by his wife, Sally, brothers, Brendan and Paddy and sister, May McDonnell.

Having reposed at his home, Colm's remains were taken to Church of the Holy Redeemer where Requiem Mass was celebrated by Very Rev. Paul Montague who delivered the eulogy.

The readings were given by niece, Fiona Dullaghan and brother, Jack, while the Prayers of Intercession were led by nieces, Nuala Dullaghan, Maura McGeown, Maura Burlingham, nephew, Declan Dullaghan, Sally's niece, Ireneus Shortt and friend, Tom Sheedy. The Offertory Gifts were presented by Colm's sisters, Monina and Briege and the Communion Reflection was read by Deirdre Attride. The beautiful music was provided by soloist, Deirdre Morgan and the organist was Anne King.

After Mass burial took place in Darver cemetery and there was a large attendance at the Mass and interment reflecting Colm's popularity within the community and the genuine sympathy for the family at their double loss.

Colm and Sally's Month's Mind Mass will be held on November 25 in Church of the Redeemer at 11.30 a.m.

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