'He was a real gentleman' - Rose of Tralee remembers Derek Davis
THE 1995 Rose of Tralee has paid tribute to Derek Davis, who died on Wednesday, describing him as a "truly uplifting" and "generous professional".
Nyomi Horgan heard the news at her home in Perth, Australia, and said it sparked many great memories of her time in Tralee and its warm-hearted host.
Davis hosted the live TV interviews at The Dome in 1995 after regular host Gay Byrne had taken ill. He was also host the following year, when Toronto's Colleen Mooney was the winner.
The respected broadcaster died in St Vincent's Hospital. He is survived by his wife Una, sons Michael, Colm and Sean and grandson Mikey.
Nyomi, who represented Perth at the competition in 1995, said she told her six-year-old daughter Tate "the story of Derek" when she was told of his death through the Rose of Tralee network on Wednesday night.
"The Rose of Tralee sisterhood ensured I received the news," she told the Herald.
"The emotion I felt when hearing of Derek's passing was a reminder of how the relationships formed through the Rose of Tralee are unique, special and lasting. I will always remember Derek as a truly uplifting and generous professional who squeezed my hand on stage to let me know he was there for me.
"He was a real gentleman who knew how to bring out the best in all of us."
The third-generation Australian said that telling her daughter about who Davis was had also prompted her to ask many questions about her Irish heritage.
Now a corporate affairs adviser in her native Perth, Nyomi is a regular visitor to the International Rose of Tralee and maintains her links with the festival through the Perth Rose Centre. She was a judge at the 2006 competition in Kerry.
Nyomi said her involvement had allowed her to explore and enjoy her Irish heritage, reconnect with extended family and develop a love of all things Irish.
The Rose of Tralee International Festival also expressed its sympathy to the Davis family.
Spokesman John Drummey described him as a "gentleman" and "thorough professional".
Davis' remains will lie in repose at his Killiney Home on Sunday from 2pm to 8pm. He will be removed to the Victorian Chapel, Mount Jerome Crematorium on Monday for a funeral service at 2pm.