'We won the lottery to have him as a dad and granddad' - hundreds gathered to pay respects to Larry Gogan
The trick to success is simple, Larry Gogan used to say. Stick around long enough to become a habit. And during 59 years on air, listening to the man 'with the golden voice' became a reassuring habit for thousands.
"Most of us can't remember life without Larry," his long-term friend Fr Brian D'Arcy said at the Church of St Pius X in Templeogue, Dublin.
Hundreds gathered to pay respects to Gogan, who died on Tuesday surrounded by his family in the care of Kiltipper Woods Care Centre.
Chief mourners were Larry's children Gerard, Orla, David, Gráinne and Sinéad, and his 12 grandchildren.
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"We won the lottery to have him as a dad and granddad," his daughter Orla said. "We were truly blessed to have had the coolest and most-with-it dad and granddad, better known to you and his grandchildren as Larry but as Lorcan to us, his children. We loved him so much. Not only as a father, but as a great pal.
"He was always there for us. He was never negative. His motto was 'there's always a solution'."
The family took comfort in believing he will finally be reunited with the love of his life Florrie, who died 18 years ago.
Larry met Florrie when she was 15. Both their fathers ran newspaper shops in Dublin, and he was immediately struck by her beauty. "They were inseparable," Fr D'Arcy said. "When Florrie died, Larry was heartbroken, but now they are together again."
His grandchildren Poppi, Seb, Ben, Zoe, Jamie, and Jodie brought symbols of his life to the altar - a thesaurus used when labouring over crossword puzzles, treasured photographs of Larry and Florrie, and Larry smiling widely, surrounded by his 12 grandkids.
They also brought up the "tools of Larry's trade" in the form of a battered set of headphones, a newspaper filled with celebrity gossip, and a pack of wine gums which his grandchildren used to pinch when he wasn't looking.
Fr D'Arcy spoke of Gogan's skill as a broadcaster, telling mourners he was "the greatest DJ in Ireland".
And that's undoubtedly true; he was a skilled and shrewd broadcaster with an encyclopaedic knowledge of music, but that wasn't the only reason people tuned in. It was also for his character, his avuncular charm, his authenticity, humour and warmth.
"He brought you along with the music, swept you up in the energy," fan Eddie O'Brien (60) from Churchtown said. "He had a youthful enthusiasm on the radio. I liked that. And he kept his voice until the end."
News of Gogan's death broke on Tuesday shortly before the funeral of Marian Finucane, and only weeks after the death of Gay Byrne.
"More sadness - it's terrible, isn't it?" chair of the RTÉ board Moya Doherty said.
Colleagues from RTÉ, including director general Dee Forbes, Bryan Dobson, Louise McSharry and Doireann Garrihy were in attendance.
U2's Larry Mullen, Dickie Rock, Brendan Grace's widow Eileen Doyle, Marty Whelan, Eoghan McDermott, Ronan Collins and Ian Dempsey were also among mourners.
President Michael D Higgins was represented by Aide de Campe, Colonel Liam Condon, while the Taoiseach was represented by Commandant Caroline Burke. The service featured songs performed by Larry's grandniece Rachel Goode. She sang a powerful rendition of U2's 'One', which was one of his favourite songs.