WIDESPREAD shock and sadness was expressed by the family, neighbours and friends of Josie Switzer, O'Rahilly's Villas, Tralee, when news filtered through of his unexpected death on Monday, October 22. Aged 78, Josie was the last surviving member of his family, who were steeped in the history of Strand Road and Tralee.
John Joe or Josie as he was called by all who knew him, hailed originally from Caherina, born in 1934 to parents Christy and Mary Bridget Switzer (nee Devine). He was predeceased by his siblings - two brothers Christy and Alfie and four sisters, Catherine, Maureen, Lily and Pat.
Josie didn't have to journey far to go to school, as the old Strand Road School, with Dinny Pa as headmaster, was directly in his path. This was the bedrock of all aspiring footballers who wanted to emulate their heroes and don the blue and white of Kerins O'Rahillys. His talents were not alone recognised at the club level, but also at county, when he donned the green and gold as a member of the minor team in 1951.
An all-round sportsman, Josie was an accomplished cross-country runner, representing his club with distinction. Also a talented soccer player, Josie was one of the founding members of Tralee Dynamos, whose pitch he graced on many occasions in the Desmond League.
Josie spent most of his working life with CIE, giving 30 years service to the company. When he retired he was never idle and was always building and repairing bicycles at home. It was there in the quiet cul de sac he went about his daily routine, surrounded by good friends and neighbours.
His niece Mary Hogan, on returning from England came to live with Josie. They spent many happy hours in each other's company, reminiscing of times past. He also enjoyed the life-long companionship of Frances Locke, who also mourns him.
Josie is survived by his niece Mary Hogan, Frances Locke, nephews, nieces, extended family, neighbours and friends.
May his gentle soul find happiness in heaven.