Sunday 18 February 2018

Frankie lived a full and happy life

Frankie Sheehan
Frankie Sheehan

THE SUDDEN death of one of New Ross's great characters, Frankie Sheehan of 1 Mount Carmel, occasioned great sadness in the town and surrounding areas where he was well known.

Flags were lowered at half mast by his neighbours at the estate's entrance gardens, which he maintained, in recognition of the work he did in the gardens.

Frankie passed away peacefully at his home on July 31, aged 70.

He is survived by his daughter, Miriam; sons, Derek, Mark and Melvyn; partner, Mary and grandchildren, and was predeceased by his wife, Lily.

Frankie was born in 1943 to parents Jack and Molly Sheehan in Wexford Street. He was one of ten children.

Frankie married Lily in 1966 and they lived in 16 Maiden Lane until 1981 when the family moved to Mount Carmel. Unfortunately Lily was taken from him at a very young age four years later.

Frankie was left with four children to raise, which he did without complaint.

He worked for over 25 years at Albatros fertiliser plant where he was an active shop steward.

While at Albatros he organised a Christmas social club fund and Christmas parties for the children of staff members, as well as sporting activities there including seven-a-side football tournaments. He also set up the Ross Blues soccer club which went from fourth division top first division in the space of four years.

Frankie was a legend at tug-o-war and according to his friends and opponents was as strong as four men.

He was a great union man and a man of principle.

A man of many hobbies and interests, he loved his pigeons and all animals and he could often be seen coaxing the birds down off the roof in Maiden Lane.

A very active man, Frankie could be seen out walking his dogs every morning around New Ross.

He loved gardening and transformed the garden at his Mount Carmel home with his roses and gave many shrubs and roses to passersby down through the years. In 1998 the Pikemen were formed to celebrate the bicentenary and this became a huge part of his life.

He loved his hurling, his street league, the Geraldine's and most of all Wexford. He had a great passion for the game and that shone through in how he played, but also in the encouragement and support he gave to all the children playing it through the years. Possessed of a great sense of humour, he loved winding people up.

A family member said: 'He was the life and soul of any party. He was always ready with a joke or a wind up.'

An active member of his community, he gave his time and efforts freely to anyone or any cause that needed them, whether that was organising a donkey derby for the Telethon, supporting the Community Hospital or being there for a friend or neighbour in need.

A devoted father and grandfather he idolised his grandchildren.

A huge crowd attended Frankie's funeral mass during which his son Derek paid a moving tribute to him.

'They say that a great man is he who does not lose his child-heart. Dad was certainly a kid at heart and was as excited as any child about Hallowe'en or Christmas and could always be found at the centre of things. He was always at the heart of a party, in charge of fun and games,' Derek said.

There was a massive standing ovation to Frankie at the mass.

The New Ross Pikemen formed a guard of honour to one of the organisation's founding members at the service, while New Ross piper Nigel O'Neill played all the way from the church to St Stephen's Cemetery.

One of Frankie's favourite songs, Boolavogue was sung as he was lowered to the ground and pigeons were released over the grave as he was laid to rest.

May he rest in peace.

New Ross Standard

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