Sunday 20 January 2019

His family, Roche Emmets and Naomh Brid were central part of Owen Joe's life

Obituary - Owen Joe Woods (1928-2018)

The late Owen Joe Woods.
The late Owen Joe Woods.

The death has occurred at home in the loving care of his family of Owen Joseph Woods, Church Road, Balriggan, Kilcurry, president of Roche Emmets G.F.C. Owen Joe was born in the neighbouring parish of Kilkerley in 1928, one of nine children to Owen and Catherine Woods.

He was predeceased by his parents, brother, Oliver; and sisters, Bridgie Woods, Margaret Carragher and Kathleen Lynch. He is survived by brothers, Tommy and John; and sisters, Mary Watters and Rosie McGee. As a young boy Owen Joe worked with local farmers and helped his father who was a carpenter.

He then took up employment in Dundalk with Carolans, who changed names over the years to ABC, Finches and then United Beverages. He was involved in plant maintenance until he retired in 1988. He married his wife of 63 years Kathleen (nee Craven) in 1954 and set up home in the parish of Faughart.

In 1955 he transferred to play Gaelic football with Roche Emmets. In his first year with the club they won the Macardle Cup, the first of two-in-a-row.

In 1957 Owen Joe was on the championship-winning team, playing in the no. 5 jersey at right-half-back, the position he played throughout his career. In 1958 he again played his part when Roche became the first and only side to win the Senior Championship and Cardinal O’Donnell Cup at first time of asking.

He retired from playing two years later and then began his love of underage football. One of the founding members of Naomh Brid in the parish, he was recognised as the man who religiously attended matches both adult and underage. Arguably his proudest moment was in 2015 when he was named club president, a role he took very seriously and was always on hand when needed.

His last official duty was in December when he proudly presented winning medals and cups to the victorious U-14 and U-16 teams. His grandson Adam Fee was a member of the U-16 team. In later years both Owen Joe and Kathleen became members of the local Active Retirement Group of which he was a very popular and much sought-after story teller and singer.

Owen Joe had a profound sense of Christian, family and community values. A life-long pioneer he had an extremely strong devotion to St. Brigid. If anyone was sick or in any difficulty his first port of call would be the shrine, so it was fitting that he slipped away peacefully in the early hours of St. Brigid’s Day, 1 February. He will be sadly missed but so lovingly remembered by each member of his family and by everyone who had the good fortune to have known him. He is survived by his wife, Kathleen (nee Craven); daughters Winifred Mullen (Kilcurry), Anne Fee (Dungooley); sons Eugene (home), Paul (Cape Town), Paddy (Scotland), John and Jim (Navan).

His funeral mass took place in St. Brigid’s Church, Kilcurry where a guard of honour was formed, comprising of Faughart Active Retirement Group and every age group from Roche Emmets, seniors down to U-9s.

Parish Priest Fr. Vinod celebrated the lovely mass. Symbols of Owen Joe’s life were introduced by grand-daughter Amanda Hopwood and carried to the altar by grandsons Alan Mullen, Adam Fee, Aaron Woods and great- grandson Logan Smith. Readings were by grandson Darren Woods and grand-daughter Elaine Smith and the responsorial psalm was sung beautifully by grand-daughter Cara Woods.

Bidding prayers were offered by grand-daughters Lucy May Fee and Mayah Woods, and also by grandsons Conor Mullen, Alex Sangster and Jason Woods. Daughters Winifred and Anne carried up the offertory gifts. The communion reflection, a poem written by Owen Joe, “Those Trees”, was read by grand-daughter Carol Mullen.

A eulogy to Owen Joe was read by son Paddy, while son Eugene thanked everyone who looked after Owen Joe in his final days. Throughout the ceremony Kilcurry Church Choir provided the wonderful music.

‘St. Brigid be with me until the road’s end and help me to walk through that gate as God’s friend’

The Argus