HUNDREDS of people filled St Brendan’s Church in Bantry on Wednesday to say ‘goodbye’ to their dear friend Tomi Ungerer, but in typical cheeky fashion, Tomi left his own epitaph in a video on his website.
With a nod to the documentary by Brad Bernstein about his life Far Out Isn’t Far Enough, Tomi spoke about death, saying the unknown ‘is what is really fantastic about death’.
He added: ‘When I die I will find out what is behind the Far Out. Maybe there is nothing, but nothing is fantastic too because if you are faced with nothing, you can fill it up with your mind.’
The quotation fits very well with his own personal motto: ‘Expect the Unexpected’.
In his 87 years, Tomi Ungerer approached life with a mind teeming with ideas, opinions and extraordinary abilities – all of which have been recognised, respected, and highly influential.
Sensitive and genuine, he drew to him lifelong friends who loved his loyalty. People also admired the strong connection he forged with the places in which he lived, especially his beloved Goleen on the Mizen.
Tomi was born in Strasbourg and published more than 140 books, translated into 28 languages. He is survived by his wife, Yvonne, his daughters Phoebe and Aria, and his sons Pascal and Lukas.
Yvonne, said Tomi ‘died peacefully in his sleep with a book on one side and a pad of notes he was taking on the other.’
Yvonne also confirmed that he had recently began working on a new collection of short stories and that he has two major exhibitions opening in Paris this Spring.
From the beginning of his career in the 1950s until the day of his death on Friday, February 8th, his work challenged social norms and conventions.
The community of Goleen is also now grieving the loss of Tony Barry of Lissacaha. As the former head of drama at RTÉ, Tony Barry was the recipient of five international awards for his directorial work on productions including Strumpet City.
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