Saturday 21 April 2018

John loved Gorey and lived for his family

The late John (Jack) Hayes.
The late John (Jack) Hayes.

THERE was deep sadness among the townspeople of Gorey at the passing on Wednesday, September 18 last, of John (Jack) Hayes of Upper Wexford Street He passed away at his home in his 94th year.

A native of Ballintaggart, Ballingarry, Thurles, Co. Tipperary, he was third in a family of three girls and six boys.

He came to Gorey in 1939 from the family farm in Tipperary. His father had married the neighbouring farmer's daughter, which wasn't unusual in those days.

He served his apprenticeship as a butcher in Redmond's Butchers in Gorey for around three years. After this, he worked in Jack Pearson's for several years as a ploughman, and doing other general farm work.

Here, he became great friends with Jack's son Billy, and they remained great friends up to Billy's death in 1996 at a relatively young age.

While delivering milk in Thomas Street as part of his work for Pearsons, he met the love of his life, Kathleen Giffney. She was visiting her relations, and answered the door to him.

They were married for almost 60 years, and had seven children: Rose, Sean, Stephen, Helen, Jim, Pakie, and Catherine.

Kathleen was a native of Wexford Street, Gorey, and they lived there all their married life, until Kathleen passed away on September 14, 2007.

After he and Kathleen were married, John worked for many years on Somers farm, Killowen, delivering milk etc., and he was very proud of doing so in the big snow of 1947 on a horse and cart.

He worked briefly in the Leather Factory, and when work got scarce, he went to England for around two years, and worked in a glass factory. While in England, he lived with his sister Kathleen.

When he returned home, he worked in Gorey Railway Station for CIE as a goods storeman, signal man, and head porter for 33 years. He loved his job. Everyone knew him and his children were often called 'The Railway Kids'. If you wanted to know the train times, you asked the Hayes'.

John retired in 1985, and he missed his work mates so much. After retirement, he developed his keen interest in gardening and did some gardening in various places well into his eighties.

Another hobby was horse training and buying. His nephew often came up from Tipperary and brought him with him to buy horses. John had his own horses in a field on The Avenue in Gorey when he was in his early 50s.

He never lost his Tipperary accent, despite living in Gorey for more than 70 years. He had a big love for hurling, especially when Tipperary and Wexford were playing or when Tipperary and Kilkenny faced each other. In his younger days he was torn between supporting Wexford or Tipperary, but Tipperary normally won the toss.

He loved Gorey, and he lived for his family, especially his grandchildren and great-grandchild, and they adored him.

When people asked him for his tip on living so long, he would say: hard work; walking every day with his little Westie dog Mondi, often three times a day when he was able; and an odd whiskey at night.

He also loved to listen to Irish music on the radio and television, and in his younger days, he loved to set dance with his brothers and sisters and family. They were experts at the Cashel Set and Dancing at the Crossroads.

John is survived by his loving children Rose, Sean, Stephen, Helen, Jim, Pakie, and Catherine; brothers Walter and Paddy; sister Kathleen; sons-in-law Jim and Mick; daughters-in-law Mary, Jean, Teresa and Mary; sisters-in-law Bridie Giffney and Kathleen Hayes; grandchildren, great-grandchild; nephews, nieces, cousins, and a wide circle of family and friends, and of course, Mondi.

His Funeral Mass was held at St. Michael's Church, Gorey, on Friday, September 20 last, and he was laid to rest afterwards in St. Michael's Cemetery. May he Rest in Peace.

Enniscorthy Guardian