John Keogh will be remembered for his long service as organist at St Saviour’s Church in Arklow.
He passed away peacefully on Saturday, September 4 at Our Lady’s Hospice, Harold’s Cross. His funeral took place on Saturday, September 7 at Christ Church, Taney Road, Dundrum, Co. Dublin.
John served as organist at St Saviour’s Church in Arklow for 57 years. He was also the organist at St Brigid’s, Kilbride.
In October 1964, a 24-year-old John was appointed organist of St Saviour’s Church, having replied to an advertisement in the Irish Times. The Rector at that time was Rev James Poyntz.
For the next 57 years, John made the 75 mile-round journey from his home in Dublin to Arklow every Sunday, almost without exception. It was only the very occasional Sunday, when the weather was particularly bad, that John was not in Arklow. In former days, there would have been three services each Sunday, starting with an early morning Communion and concluding with Evening Prayer. John would have played the organ at all three.
He had a great love of music from an early age, playing the piano as a boy at home, and also as a boy soprano in the choir of the since demolished St Peter’s Church. He played the cornet in the Boys Brigade Company Brass Band, and also in the Stedfast Band.
John went to work in Stewart’s Garages in Ranelagh. He then become services administrator, and then later worked with an international vehicle leasing company as fleet manager.
In St Saviour’s and in St Brigid’s, John will be fondly remembered as a faithful and committed organist, who was extremely talented, and yet was very modest. He played the organ with superb ability and great panache, and yet he did not like any adulation for himself, but through his playing of the organ sought to bring glory to God. He was a private person, reserved, who liked to get on with the job quietly and unobtrusively.
John’s way was to arrive early and slip into church quietly before the service. At the end, when everyone had left, he’d walk down the side aisle, and likewise slip out of the church and straight to his car, without wanting to draw any attention to himself.
He was always very amenable, and very obliging. He liked to encourage, in a very gentle and diplomatic way, those who were able to sing, to come to sing in the choir, and with them he developed a very loyal group of people in both Arklow and Kilbride.
John will be remembered as a gentleman, a gifted musician, and a faithful and devoted organist, who will be greatly missed. May he rest in peace.