CORK Genealogical Society presented an Honorary Fellowship and Life Membership of the Society to Bill Fahy at a reception in the West Cork Hotel in Skibbereen recently.
Bill is the son of the late David (Sonny) and Bella Fahy of Townshend Street, and a brother of former Mayor of Skibbereen, Frank Fahy.
Bill resides in Cape Cod, in Massachusetts in the USA, and was presented with an illuminated scroll and gold membership pin to commemorate the occasion by Mr Declan Chalmers, president and founding member of the Society.
Over thirty members of Bill’s family were present, including his daughter and granddaughter who had flown in from the US, and others who had travelled from Dublin, Cork and around the country. Society members who had travelled from Cork included Edward Wallace, chairman of the Society, along with the treasurer and secretary.
The gathering was also attended by Gerald O’Brien of Glencurragh, a well-known local historian who attended primary and secondary school with Bill. He was delighted to renew his friendship with his former school friend and indeed ‘desk-mate’!
Speaking at the presentation, society president Declan Chalmers said that the society was delighted to honour Bill in recognition of his work and help to hundreds and perhaps thousands of people, particularly from West Cork area through his website, www.westcorkgenealogy.com.
The site contains details of over 17,000 people in West Cork and Bill had given freely of his time to answer many individual queries over the years. Edward Wallace also spoke in glowing terms of Bill’s contribution to so many people in this field, both beginners and those engaged for many years in the pursuit of knowledge of their ancestral roots.
Bill, he said, had provided this free-to-access website, while developing his own family tree with the help of his brother Frank. He had collected verified facts about other families to provide the basis of the website.
Edward also referred to the fact that Bill had emigrated in 1956 – not alone to work but to pursue the love of his life, Eileen Keane of Drimoleague, who had emigrated a short while before. They had married in 1957 in Brookline, Massachusetts.
They had four children who have provided Bill and Eileen with nine grand children. Bill attended Boston College night classes and attained a Bachelor of Science Degree and a Masters Degree in Business Administration.
He worked as director of purchasing with the New England Hospital for Women in Boston and later as sales manager with the Metropolitan Supply Co in Cambridge, Massachusetts, until his retirement in 1991.
In September 1991 he and his wife sailed their self-built Westsail 32 yacht from Cohasset, Massachusetts down the east coast to Marathon, Florida and to the Bahamas, returning to Cohasset in April 1992.
Bill and his wife Eileen retired to their new home in which he had played a major role constructing, in Pocasset, Cape Cod in 1995, where they continue to live.
They have visited Skibbereen almost every year since he emigrated and have never lost their love for the area and community.