People throughout Enniscorthy and Wexford were saddened recently at the passing of Ned Fenlon, the Orchard, Galbally.
Ned, who was in his 101st year, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his family and friends.
Ned was born in Raheenahone in 1919 into a family of 12 boys, of which he was the last one remaining.
He had eight brothers, three step-brothers, and no sisters. After his father died Ned continued to run the family dairy farm with his late mother up until she passed away in 1973.
Shortly after this time, Ned moved to a smaller farm at Talbot House in Galbally in the centre of the village.
Not only did he move to the centre of the village but he also became a central part of the village and was involved in all aspects of life in his local community.
A man of deep faith, Ned was the caretaker of the church and graveyard up until his 98th year when he thought it was about time he retired from the job!
He was on the first committee for the building of the local community centre in 1988 and was involved with most events in it over the years.
His four grandchildren attended the local school, Scoil Eoin Baiste, and again he was present at all school events up until recently.
To mark his 100th birthday all 39 pupils and their teachers from the school paid a visit to Ned at his home where they presented him with presents and a beautiful card signed by all.
They sang songs and had many questions for him on how different life was when Ned was their age.
For Ned's 100th birthday back in April last year, the family invited many of his family and friends to a celebration in Wilton Castle.
To mark his landmark birthday, his lifelong friend Bishop Denis Brennan presented him with a special boxed Rosary beads that had been given to him by Pope Francis on his recent visit to Ireland.
It was something Ned treasured above all gifts he received.
Ned was a pioneer all his life and loved to play bingo in his earlier years.
He was also an avid card player in his latter years, often playing until the small hours with his neighbours and friends.
He loved conversation and his memory of people and places was amazing right up until recently.
People came from miles to learn more about their ancestors from him. He was a lifelong member of Fianna Fail and the party paid him a fitting tribute with a guard of honour to escort him on the short walk across the road to the church for his funeral.
Ned was very well known and respected, as was evident in the hundreds of people who called to pay their respects at his home during the wake and subsequent funeral mass.
Everyone who crossed Ned's door had to have 'a cup of tea' before leaving and it was no different for his wake!
His funeral mass was celebrated by Fr Billy Caulfield, Fr Matt Boggan, Fr Robert Maguire, Fr David Fleming and Bishop Denis Brennan who, before he led the Prayer of Commendation, acknowledged the 'huge contribution Ned made to the church in Galbally'.
Bishop Brennan also said he 'regretted not knowing Ned was such a big man for the chocolate… or he would have made a point of calling to see him more often!'
In his eulogy, Ned's nephew, Nick Power, said Ned was 'an honest, decent and noble man and although it was a sad day it was also a day for us to celebrate the long and happy life that Ned had'.
Ned's family is very grateful for the assistance that he received from his many care workers who visited him every day.
Their help ensured that Ned was able to remain living at home right to the end.
Ned is survived by his wife, Bee; his daughters Catherine, Ann-Marie and Jacinta; sons-in-law, Nikk and David, and his grandchildren whom he cherished: Kyle; Aaron; Garry; Patrick; Caitlin; and Edward.