Tuesday 22 January 2019

William led by example as as kind, loving gentleman


The late William Maher.
The late William Maher.

The late William Maher was a much-loved gentleman who was devoted to his family. He passed away in recent weeks at the age of 72.

William was also dedicated to his work at Youthreach in Bray as caretaker before he retired and will be very fondly remembered by students and staff.

He is survived by his wife Katherine, son Marcus, brother Charlie, sister Ellen, extended family and friends.

A native of Finglas, he had lived in Bray since the 1970s.

William was a man who always listened to and had time for his family, and others whom he encountered at work and in the community.

He loved to be busy, and took great pride in his neighbourhood. A resident of Sugarloaf Crescent, William was often to be seen planting flower-beds and trees nearby.

He enjoyed being out in the fresh air, and would turn his hand to anything.

He even built his own greenhouse in the garden, using some glass left over when a neighbour was changing their windows.

That greenhouse still stands and yielded great crops over the years, of tomatoes, cucumbers and other fruit and veg.

Marcus said that William was largely an easy-going dad. He might have been strict perhaps if there was danger involved, but overall he was relaxed and easy to talk to.

He like photography, and had one or two small cameras he enjoyed using.

William's favourite sport to watch was rugby, and he also liked to watch the occasional football match.

He enjoyed his time at Youthreach where he got on very well with students and staff alike.

He was a thoughtful man, and could be sentimental. His family realised after he had passed away, that he had held on to many small gifts from them over the years.

William enjoyed the simple things in life and was happiest when working on some project or other.

Before Youthreach, he also worked at the sports centre in St Thomas', as well as the Vila Pacis at the Queen of Peace church.

His former colleagues at Youthreach paid tribute to their 'dear friend', whom they said was a confidante as well as caretaker.

William worked there from 1999 until he 2011 when he closed the doors for the last time, hung up his belt and keys, and celebrated his retirement with a banquet and ceremony.

A sense of loss hung over the building last week as news spread of the passing of a man who had left a long lasting imprint on the halls of the education centre.

William did more than open and close the building daily. He took his role seriously by taking care of every person that walked through those doors.

He was a kind man who knew the value of having time for others, always willing to lend an ear or make a cup of tea if your day wasn't going so well. He loved to see the students and staff arrive daily, even though his day began much earlier with warming up the building, prepping the rooms and making the place feel very much like a home.

He greeted everyone with a smile. If you ever needed something done or answered about the building Willie was the go to. He knew the answer, where it is or how to get it done. He approached every task with love and enthusiasm, no job was too big or small or ever a problem.

Beyond his duties as caretaker he had a love of being surrounded by the young students. He would attend the annual sports day and they have fond memories of him playing boules on the lawn he had worked hard to cut perfectly for the event. One year he even got into a Sumo wrestling suit and matched up with a staff member. The result was a draw as far as the story goes.

He spoke so fondly of his wife Kathy and his son Marcus. Daily reports were given about how Marcus's studies were going. He was such a proud father and devoted husband.

His colleagues would hear of Kathy's ability to bake cakes and her love of cooking. He worked tirelessly for them and was so proud of his son who went on to a PHD. 'My son is Dr Maher,' he would say.

The lessons that he taught both staff and students at Youthreach were - 'Be kind, do what you can with what you have, take time to listen to others, never judge and always greet a person with a smile and helping hand.'

A large crowd of mourners gathered to say a final farewell at the Queen of Peace church.

Bray People