The late Wilhelm ( Willi) Hermann Stockhaus
1937-2012 THE LATE Willi Stockhaus, retired Managing Director of GEA Westfalia Separator, passed away peacefully on June 23, 2012 at Marymount Hospice in Cork, after bravely fighting a short illness. He is survived by his loving wife Doris and his two daughters Barbel and Birgit.
Aged 75, Willi was born in Hamm, Hessen, Germany where he lived and worked, prior to moving to Ireland, setting up a very successful company in Castleisland and later Cork. Willi and Doris Stockhaus moved to Tralee in 1968 where Willi initially traded Westfalia Separator products out of McElligotts of Castleisland.
He later relocated the Irish operation to Ballincollig, Cork to avail of better connections to the continent. Willi was instrumental in overseeing the smooth integration of the Cork plant into the larger GEA Group and he remained involved in the company for many years after his retirement in 1997 as a valued Trustee of the company's pension trust.
Willi took to Ireland like a duck to water and he had great affection for the people of Cork and Kerry who made him and his family very welcome. He had a great sense of humour and played many a practical joke on visiting German friends and relatives – he was very fond of the "craic".
He once told his mother-in law (who spoke no English), that it was polite to say "goodbye" whenever she answered the door to anyone. This left many a caller to the family home thoroughly confused! He never really grasped the "cupla focal" though as it has been widely reported that he taught many of his German friends to utter "pog mo thon!" when greeting someone.
He threw himself into popular Irish culture with enthusiasm taking to bridge, horseracing, pitch and putt, the dogs and golf! His notion of football was at odds with what Kerry people knew it to be. When invited to his first All-Ireland football final he was horrified to see the players and officials having a total disregard for the rules as they continuously handled the ball!
Many of his German visitors often complained of never seeing a horse race despite being at meets at Killarney or Tralee as they spent the day trotting to the bar and the Tote collecting their winnings!
Willi often described himself as the "German Kerryman living in Cork". He is credited with saying "that when a Kerryman moves to Cork, the IQ in both counties is raised" proving not only that he had a great grasp of the English language (when it suited him) but that he was a very "likeable rogue".
Despite the move to Cork he maintained many links to Kerry, keeping a caravan in Castlegregory and later in Killarney for a number of years and frequently visiting old friends in Tralee and Castleisland.
An avid golfer Willi was a former member of Muskerry and Lee Valley.
His greatest golfing achievement was winning the gent's club foursomes in 2011 when, paired with teenager Pat Hayes, they beat the holders in a thrilling final.
A non-religious public funeral service and eulogy took place on the evening of Monday, June 25.
The removal of Willi's remains took place from Crowley's Funeral Home, Ballincollig to The Island Crematorium, Ringaskiddy on Tuesday, June 26 for a private family service.
Willi is sadly missed and deeply mourned by his loving wife Doris, daughters Barbel and Brigit, sonin-law Paul O'Brien, his many friends and former work colleagues in Castleisland and Cork.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.