DR. E. L. (EAMON) GAVIN died peacefully at his home, West House, Royal Oak Road, Bagenalstown, in the loving care of his family, on Monday, March 5 in his 97th year.
A native of Rochfortbridge, Co Westmeath, Dr. Gavin began his medical studies at University College, Dublin, in 1932. He served seven years as a dispensary doctor in Kilbeggan, Co. Westmeath and in 1949 he was appointed to Bagenalstown with responsibility also for the local hospital. There was no Caredoc in those days and Dr. Gavin often worked a 24-hour day.
In the case of an emergency a phone call to his house saw Dr. Gavin arrive within a few minutes. He had no time for small talk in emergency situations but immediately applied his diagnostic and treatment skills to his patient.
Over 100 babies were born annually at home in this area in the ' 50s and '60s and at one time there were three midwives in Bagenalstown.
Dr. Gavin was totally dedicated to his profession and he was always interested in keeping upto-date with all advances in modern medicine.
During the years he was in practice the community was very lucky to have had a man of such outstanding talent in the area that operated a 'one man show', working to a very tight schedule and covering a vast area in the ' 50s and ' 60s. At that time there was no retiring age for a dispensary doctor and many couldn't afford to retire. Since Dr. Gavin became a medical student in l932, to his retirement in l985, there were more medical advances than in any comparable period. At that time pneumonia was then a dreaded and often fatal disease, epidemics of diphtheria were frequent and TB was rampant. In l985 the scene was very different with modern drugs and improvements in living standards.
Dr. Gavin was a founding member of Bagenalstown Pitch and Putt Club of which he was Captain and twice President. He was also an active member of Bagenalstown Musical Society and twice Chairman.
In his life he was supported by his wife, Doreen, who shared his burden over the years, a warm and sincere lady whose home was, for many years, open day and night to those in trouble. She reared a large family and yet had time to listen to people's troubles.
I worked for him for many happy years in West House until the medical practice moved to Bachelors Walk in l984. My fond memories of him include his patience and kindness when I started in the job and was not familiar with medical terminology; sharing my work when he could; his appreciation of a job well done and his friendship throughout the years.
He retired from public service medicine in l985 and from the Bagenalstown Medical Practice on September 30, 1985.
After his retirement he kept in contact with many of his patients, often calling for a chat and a cup of tea. He was very interested in local history, enjoyed walking, music and his garden.
He was predeceased by his beloved wife, Doreen, in September 1999.
Dr. Gavin's Funeral Mass was celebrated by Fr. Gerry Byrne, P. P. Graiguenamanagh (a family friend) assisted by Fr. Tom Bambrick, Fr. Paddy Byrne and Fr. Eamon Newell, Gormanstown. The offerings were brought to the altar by Teresa Gavin and Marie Murphy and the Prayers of the Faithful were read by Dr. Gavin's grandchildren Richard Ryder, Kathleen Valentini, Elizabeth Hunt, Alannah Gavin, Louise Gavin, Michael Gavin, Karen Moubarak and Jack Mercy.
He is deeply mourned and will be sadly missed by his sons, John (Bagenalstown), Edward (Celbridge), Brian (Dublin); daughters Caroline (Stamullen), Teresa (Dublin), Mary ( Rugby), Judith ( London), Nicola ( Dubai) and Dorena (France).
He will also be sadly missed by Marie (Murphy), his sister in law Mary (Gavin), daughters in law, sons in law, his 30 grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren, nephews, nieces, relatives and friends and by the community he served for over thirty five years. May he rest in peace. Margaret Cushen