“Your life John is like an unfinished story, we desperately want to keep reading.
Goodbyes hurt the most when the story is incomplete”.
The poignant words of Fr Pat Doody, speaking at the funeral of John Regan in the Augustinian Church on Monday morning.
The church was packed with his heartbroken family, friends and colleagues, most importantly his beloved wife Christine, daughter Suzanne and her husband Paul, son David and his wife Annamarie, grandchildren Emily and Ted, brother Joe and sister Kathleen.
The popular operations manager at Ballymagarvey House died suddenly in his house in Spain at just 63 years of age, which brought much shock and sorrow to all those who loved him.
“Tears are the words the mouth can’t say, nor can the heart bear,” said Fr Pat, who is related to John through marriage.
“Spain was John and Christine’s ‘happy place’ and the tributes paid to him over the past week show the high esteem in which John was held, with a common thread; his kindness, his empathy, his style which was evident in the wedding dresses he designed, his attention to detail – the needle and thread always at hand in case of an emergency – and his warm smile and wit.”
Born in Tara Street in Dublin, John was proud of his roots, but settled into Drogheda with ease, first opening the busy Stockwell Deli in the centre of town, before sharing his talent and flair for style with stunning bridal gowns, and latterly, creating the perfect day for thousands of happy couples in the Meath wedding venue.
John was a beautiful singer, and the church was hushed to a mournful silence with the sound of John’s close friend Aidan Rice singing one of his favourite songs ‘Somewhere’, before John’s own son David took to the altar to remember his beloved Dad.
“John was one of the good ones; he was the most talented, charismatic, charming, kind, creative, caring, generous and loving man you could meet - I am incredibly proud to be his son,” said David lovingly.
“He had a cheeky side and divilment was never too far away. His one-liners would either make you laugh or leave you horrified. In everything John did he brought elegance and charm... and was a loving family man, who cherished his children, while his grandchildren were another jewel added to his crown”.
David remembered how adored John was by all whose path they crossed.
“A walk across the town always involved numerous hellos and explanations to me that they used to come into the Stockwell Deli, used to drink in The Weavers or he made their wedding dress,” said David.
“John’s wife Christine was his rock and one true love...and his face would light up when she walked in the room. He loved her more than anything in the world.”
A special thanks was given to all those who helped in Spain when his dad passed – specially to ASV in Malaga and Brian Clarke in the Irish Embassy, Colin Bell and Townley’s Funeral Home and Fr Pat.
The author Louise O’Neill summed up how many felt about John in her tribute: “He was magnetic - charismatic, funny, kind, warm, and loving,” she wrote. “He made everyone he met feel as if they were the only person in the room he wanted to talk to; he had the uncanny ability to put others at ease with his easy laugh and sharp wit”.
John was laid to rest in Dardistown Crematorium. May he rest in peace.