John's dignity and his courage in final years was typical of the man

April 23rd, 2019 10:07 PM

By Jackie Keogh

Skibbereen businessman, John O'Driscoll, left a rich legacy, and a loving family, when he passed away recently.

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THERE is a religious parable about a family who didn’t grieve when a loved one passed away because they had already lived each day of their lives as richly, and as lovingly, as if it were their last.

Barry, Oonagh, Colman and John O’Driscoll and their mother, Muriel, opened the doors of their home at Senga in Glencurragh, Skibbereen, on Tuesday afternoon – the day after their beloved, John, was laid to rest – and spoke without sentimentality about a man they not only loved, but admired.

John O’Driscoll (79) was buried on April 15th – a date that is significant because it was the 34th anniversary of the opening of the family business, John O’Driscoll Motor Factors Limited. But, given John’s diagnosis of inoperable lung cancer on September 2016, he had already beaten the odds.

The dignity and courage John showed throughout his illness was typical of a man that his children described as: ‘Good natured, humble, decent, fun, passionate, warm, generous and considerate.’

Countless others saw the same goodness in the imposing 6’2” smiling figure; and almost every expression of condolence described him as not only a gentleman, but equally a gentle man.

 John’s passions in life were: his family, the shop, the GAA, Skibbereen and West Cork. Family came first. He thought they were wonderful.

His passion for work was shown in the way he conducted his business and the way he treated his customers – with courteousness and kindness. 

John and Muriel – who shared more than half a century together – were brave to start out in business in 1985, a time of economic recession. But, today, their shop continues to be a successful enterprise, which employs 11 full-time and part-time staff.

The GAA saw John O’Driscoll give another life’s worth of service. In his 60 years involvement with the club, he held almost every role and title, including that of chairman.

Even at a sad time, Muriel could smile and joke about John’s sense of civic pride. She said: ‘He was involved in everything but the women’s confraternity.’ John O’Driscoll played an active role in everything from the GAA to the CYMS, the Civil Defence, and FÁS. He was a founding member of Skibbereen Credit Union and pitch and putt club.

He was involved in Skibbereen Business Promotions, the food festival, the Special Olympics, the winter wonderland, as well as the refurbishment of the O’Donovan Rossa Memorial Park, and he was an early advocate of ‘shop local.’

Throughout all of this there was a continuum in John’s life – and that was his faith. It helped him in recent years and it brought to the fore his innate sense of strength and equanimity.

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