Monday 10 December 2018

Talented golfer Henry was a true gent

Obituary: Henry O'Kelly

The late Henry O'Kelly
The late Henry O'Kelly

Henry O'Kelly of Templecarrig, Delgany, and O'Kellys Jewellers, Bray, passed away recently in St Michael's Hospital, Dun Laoghaire. Henry was one of nature's gentlemen.

He was born in Rathfarnham, County Dublin, in 1934 and moved to County Wicklow in 1947 with his family but he always remained a true blue Dub at heart!

Henry had a real love of sport, with Gaelic games, golf and horse racing being his top three passions.

He was very involved in the setting up and running of St Kevin's GAA Club in Bray with his late father Harry and brothers Kevin and Paddy.

Henry enjoyed considerable success as a player, winning multiple county championships at senior level in the 1950s and 1960s and at junior level in 1981.

Henry was an excellent golfer and one of his proudest achievements was the golf marathon he played with his late brother Paddy in Greystones Golf Club in July 1960.

They took up a challenge which saw them start play at first light at 4.53 a.m. and by 9 p.m. that evening a crowd had gathered on the 18th hole to cheer the brothers home as they finished their eighth full round.

Exhausted, Paddy and Henry acknowledged the applause and walked past the clubhouse to the first tee for one more round.

They played a total of nine full rounds, 162 holes in 17 hours 42 minutes while carrying their own clubs.

With the O'Kelly's competitive spirit, scores were kept by an independent marker, Henry had birdied the 162nd hole to beat Paddy by one shot when the scores were counted.

Horse racing and betting were his favourite past time in recent years. He visited the bookies most days and generally managed to take more from them than he gave to them.

Henry came into the family business, O'Kellys Jewellers, to help his brother Paddy out for a 'few days' in the 1960's... that few days lasted a long time.

Although officially retired for over ten years, Henry was still actively involved in O'Kellys shop up until late last year.

Henry was quite a shy man and he preferred to stay in the background, working quietly while his brother-in-law Tony McLoughlin ran the front of shop.

Although Henry had no children of his own, he was a second father and grandfather to many of his family. He was so happy last Christmas when he held his great grand nephew Henry in his arms.

His passing has left a void among his nieces and nephews that will be hard to fill. Henry truly was one of life's gentlemen.

He was predeceased by his parents, Harry and Elizabeth, his brothers Kevin and Paddy and his sister Alice.

Rest in peace Henry, you will never be forgotten.

Wicklow People