Saturday 15 December 2018

Halpin home was always a happy and welcoming one


The death of Willie Halpin of Yellowbatter, Drogheda on March 30th last has been met with deep sadness by all who had the pleasure of knowing him.

A kind man who enjoyed the simple pleasures in life, Willie's passing will be particularly felt in the close-knit community of Yellowbatter where he and his wife Sheila lived for over six decades in their happy welcoming home in 'the Ring.'

The eldest son of William (Bill) and May Halpin from Hand Street, Willie was born on December 12th 1928, the eldest of seven children.

In his younger years he was a member of the FCA. Like most of his generation Willie went out to work at the tender age of 13 when he could be seen cycling the roads and lanes of Drogheda on his bike with the big basket making deliveries for Benny Carroll's Grocery and Pub on the Chord Road.

From there he worked in a variety of well- known local businesses including the Abbey Cinema, Butlins, McCannon Hills and Bellews, before spending the last 20 years of his working life in BD where he was held in high regard by his colleagues.

In his late teens he ventured across the water in search of employment but didn't stay too long because fate was to intervene. During a bout of homesickness he came back to Drogheda for a holiday and whilst here he happened to meet Sheila Whearty from the Colpe Road, who would subsequently become his wife and soulmate, and he never returned.

The couple were married on April 19th 1954, two years after that first meeting , and after Willie had popped the question during the interval at the cinema with the words 'I think we'll get married"

It was a match made in heaven and before long two became eight with the arrival of Gerard, Liam, Bernadette, Denis, Pamela and Derek. Family meant everything to Willie - he was a devoted husband and father and the couple's forever home was a loving, joyful, busy household with everything centred around the children. Willie loved a good laugh and a joke and you'd know he was up to devilment when you'd see that familiar twinkle in his eye.

Sadly tragedy was to strike the family in 1978 when eldest son Gerard was killed in a road traffic accident at just 23-years-of age. Despite his own grief and heartache at the loss of his beloved son, Willie was a huge source of strength to Sheila and the rest of their family who credit him with helping them get through the tough times that followed.

Willie enjoyed a close relationship with all of his children , always loving and giving of his time, ready with a word of advice or comfort if needed.

The arrival of his grandchildren Gerard, Anton, Jennifer ,Kayleigh, Tamlyn, Padraig, Nikita and Olivia also brought great joy to his life. He loved to see them calling into Yellowbatter where they would have the craic and chat. A doting granda, he was immensely proud of all of their achievements and was always watching out for them whether it was a possible job opportunity in the paper or praying for them to do well in an exam. He had a special place in his heart too for his great grand-daughter Amelia who was born just 17 months ago.

Religion was very important to Willie. He had a particular devotion to Our Lady and the Rosary was said every night, always the third decade.

Willie never drove a car or flew on an airplane. But that never stopped him enjoying holidays. He and Sheila travelled all over Ireland on bus tours, with Killarney being a particular favourite. He also loved Blackpool and the Isle of Man.

He was a big Man United supporter and one of his happiest moments was when he realised his dream of seeing his team play in Old Trafford , a trip that was organised by his family. Although from the wee county he was an avid Meath supporter, a passion he shared with his father who originally came from the Royal County. The pair used to travel to all the games and Willie's support never waned over the years.

Films were another big love as was music and he got great pleasure from seeing Andre Rieu live in concert in recent years.

Willie though was at his happiest at home, in front of the television watching a film, surrounded by his loved ones.

He died peacefully in his 90th year at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, surrounded by his family. Sadly he died just seven weeks after his sister Pauline (McLoughlin) from Ballsgrove. He was also predeceased by his sister Maura (Smith)

His death has left a huge void in the lives of his family but they are thankful of the many precious happy memories that they shared together.

Willie reposed at home before removal to Our Lady of Lourdes Church for Requiem Mass which was celebrated by Fr Paul assisted by Fr Daly. Readings were said by his son Denis and grandson Gerard while his grandchildren Padraig, Kayleigh, Nikita and Tamlyn said the Prayers of the Faithful. The Offertory gifts were presented by his daughters Bernadette and Pamela, grand-daughter Olivia, and sisters Carmel and Evelyn. His son Liam gave a very touching eulogy. The beautiful music was provided by his son-in-law Pat Harty and the Lourdes Choir and his brother-in-law Richard Whearty on the Cornet.

The large attendance who paid their respects at both the family home and the Church reflected the high esteem in which Willie Halpin was held locally. He was buried with his son Gerard in St Peter's Cemetery and in a moving gesture the family played clips of Willie's favourite pieces of music after his internment.

He will be hugely missed by Sheila, his beloved wife of 64 years , his children Liam, Bernadette, Denis, Pamela and Derek, sons-in-law Tom (Norris) and Pat (Harty), daughers-in-law Ciara and Sharon, grandchildren Gerard, Anton, Jennifer ,Kayleigh, Tamlyn, Padraig, Nikita and Olivia , great grand-daughter Amelia, brother Tom , sisters Carmel, Vera, and Evelyn, brothers-in-law, sister-in-law nephews, nieces, relatives and friends.

May He rest in Peace

Drogheda Independent