On Saturday August 13, Blackwater village said goodbye to one of its stalwarts. Huge numbers of family, friends, colleagues and loyal customers turned out to pay their final respects to George Kehoe.
Born in 1939, George was educated in Kilashee Preparatory Boarding School for boys, Castleknock College and finally Warrenstown Agricultural College before he took over the management of the Dock Milling Company in Bagnelstown. Three years later he returned to Blackwater to help his father Joseph and mother Eva run the family business which was established in 1929.
In the early seventies, George purchased many new lorries and established livestock meal distribution in Wexford. At this time, he offered the main source of employment in Blackwater and both he and his staff made multiple daily visits to the Paul and Vincent Mill on Rogerson's Quay in Dublin to supply Wexford's farmed livestock.
George loved driving, be it his vintage Davey Browne tractor, his beloved GK1 registered golf buggy or his trusty forklift. He often said there was 'more mileage on the forklift than the Merc'. He loved nothing more than to drive the boreens of Ireland to make himself even more familiar with the country he loved.
Over the years, George proudly watched the business expand, with premises in Blackwater, Borris and up to recently he worked alongside his son Jody to open a new Agri business in Enniscorthy.
In 1967, on one of his frequent nights out to the dance halls of Ireland, George met Winnie O'Brien in the Dun Mhuire who had just arrived in town as a nurse in the Old County Hospital. In 1970, they married and went on to have their three children - Jody, Ann and Belinda. Over the years, his beloved grandchildren Kelly, Laura, Rachel, Calum, Oisín and Johnny arrived, whom he adored. He soon became a regular in Ken Black's toy store!
A larger than life personality, George was a great supporter of all things local and epitomised everything that was wholesome and good about rural living. He was known as Blackwater's 'go-to-man' and Blackwater's ' get-it-done-man'.
In the event of snow, he would clear the roads to keep Blackwater passable. When Blackwater used to flood, he would ferry the children to school in his faithful Volvo loader. No matter what it was, he would say 'leave it with me' and it would be done and George would never seek any recognition in return.
In 1991, George was a founding member of Blackwater Golf Society, in which he served as Captain and Chairperson multiple times. He loved the banter on the golf course with young and old alike.
Over the years he involved himself in numerous community and parochial projects,from Tidy Towns to Blackwater Christmas Lights but none more so than St.Brigid's GAA Club. In his playing days George played mostly football. It was however as a local administrator that George was to leave a massive legacy. He served the Club as Chairman on a number of occasions. He was one of the 'main drivers' in providing the Club with a permanent home, Páirc Naomh Bríd, in 1984. He involved himself with the purchase and development of the pitch, fund raising etc. during difficult recessionary times. He placed his trucks, equipment and indeed his own employees at the Clubs disposal in order to develop the grounds. Generations of Blackwaters players now enjoy the fruits of the work of visionaries like George Kehoe.
George will be greatly missed by his wife, children and grandchildren, his brother Joseph, colleagues and friends.
Go dtuga Dia suaimhneas síoraí dó
George's Months Mind will be at St.Brigids Church, Blackwater on September 24 at 8 p.m.