Joe Raleigh, 1920-2013
THE late Michael Joseph (Joe) Raleigh was born in the Kerry Road on October 24, 1920, to parents Patrick & Anne Raleigh.
When Joe was just 13 months old, his sister Betty 4 years & brother Eddie 3 years; their mother died at the age of 28. His father Patrick then returned to his parents in his native Castlemahon with Eddie. Joe's maternal grandmother Eliza Murphy raised Betty & Joe at her home in the Kerry Road. Eliza then a widow had already raised 6 daughters. Betty would always say that Joe could do no wrong & was her grandmother's favourite!
Joe remained with Eliza until her death in 1959 aged 92 years. He looked after her in her latter years as she had looked after him in his childhood. After Eliza's death, with Betty's encouragement, Joe joined the local Legion of Mary. Through the work of the Legion of Mary he visited many homes throughout the parish. One such home was that of Jack & Margaret Kennedy Mountkeeffe where Joe caught the eye of their daughter Bridget. Joe & Bridget were married on November 24, 1962, just over 50 years ago. They raised three sons, Pádraig, Seán and Michéal and a daughter Mairéad.
Joe was a gentleman who worked hard all his life and lived by the motto "if a job was worth doing it was worth doing well". He could turn his hand to anything and was in his element when working with stone or wood. Joe lived a simple life and discovered early the real meaning of life – love of his faith, love of his family and a willingness to help others. He was happiest at home surrounded by his family or in his garden or walking his beloved Kerry Road & Shreelawn Wood with his dog. Joe was a very knowledgeable man and was always willing to learn. He was known for his great ability to advise others and for the care he showed for all.
His faith meant everything to him. He went to Mass every day while he was able and had a particularly strong devotion to Our Lady – the rosary beads were never far from his hands. He was an active member of the local Queen of Peace prayer group and so looked forward to the Friday night meetings. The members of the prayer group were like a second family to him. He was a member of the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association for over 80 years and received the Fr. Cullen medal some years ago in acknowledgement of his life-time membership. He visited many Marian shrines – Knock, Lourdes, Fatima and made several visits to Medjugorje in his latter years. He was well known as being the first person up Cross mountain while on pilgrimage in Medjugorje even in his late 80's!
Joe had a keen interest in sport. He loved following the local GAA teams and while he was able he travelled to support them wherever they played.
He possessed a great community spirit and was known to volunteer in many parish projects including the building of the GAA dressing rooms, erection & maintenance of the Grotto. He was never found wanting when it came to anything that needed doing in the parish Churches, be it building stone walls, maintenance work or erection of the crib at Christmas. Joe had great respect and love for his near neighbours Newmarket Pipe Band and their musical escort to the church on the night of his removal, played with such passion and gusto, was a very fitting tribute to him. Joe was always there to help anyone in need in his quite unassuming way.
Joe passed to his eternal reward on February 5. The large attendance at his removal & funeral Mass were a true testament to the respect & love that people held for Joe. Joe's remains now rest in Clonfert Cemetery overlooking his beloved Shreelawn Wood.