The sad passing has taken place of Michael O'Keeffe (pictured right) of Ballyboy, The Ballagh.
Michael, a well-know member of the community in the Ballagh, passed away on Friday, June 19, in Wexford General Hospital.
Originally from Oylegate, Michael, like many men of his generation, emigrated to England at the age of 16 to find work. He gained employment there in the manufacturing industry in London and the North of England. He returned home to Ireland in 1968, marrying his loving wife Anna in 1971.
He initially worked in Power's Whiskey as did many an Oylegate man and later in Semperit Tyres in Ballyfermot, Dublin. He returned to Wexford in 1973 to take up a position in what was then known as Cow & Gate Baby Food, now known as Danone Ireland in Rocklands, Wexford town until his retirement in the mid-90s.
Michael had two great loves in his life Manchester United football club and deep sea angling. He started following Manchester United during his time in England and did his best to never miss a match on TV.
Michael utilised his passion for soccer during the '70s, when he managed the local Ballagh AFC. He managed the team to victory in the Howsley Cup. Following his retirement, he took up management again for a couple of years in the '90s, which he enjoyed immensely. Michael was an avid sea angler and spent many a day out fishing on angling boats and onshore around the Irish coast.
He fished in and won many competitions and one of the proudest moments in his fishing career was when the captained the Irish team in the Master angler competition.
After his retirement Michael went into the property business and worked with many of the county's well know auctioneers. Michael had a keen eye for a bargain and spent many a weekend perusing the county's car boot sales and markets hunting for forgotten treasures. This abiding interest in antiques also included the world of classic cars and Michael regularly enjoyed a day out to visit car shows around the region.
Michael was a prominent member of his community and was actively involved in many local projects, including the refurbishment of the Ballagh Community Centre and was a member of the committee that built The Ballagh Health Centre.
His avid love of Irish history led to him organising and running the 1798 commemorations held in the Ballagh in 1998. He was instrumental in the clean up of the Castle Ellis graveyard and the inaugural remembrance mass held there.
Michael was an enthusiastic traveller who loved to help other people whenever he could.
It was these characteristics that led to him volunteering with the Irish Handicapped Children's Pilgrimage Trust. He and his wife Anna participated in their annual trips to Lourdes for over 10 years.
Michael's inherent kindness also extended to a great love of animals and he had several beloved pets. Michael is survived by his wife Anna, son Barry, siblings Ann and Liam and extended family.
Much-loved Michael will be missed by all his relatives, friends and neighbours.