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Much-loved ‘gentle heart' Leonard will be fondly remembered by all

May 31st, 2018 7:15 AM

By Jackie Keogh

Leonard Desmond at Skibbereen Farmers' Market.

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LEONARD Desmond had lots of talents but his daughter Gillian said his ability to play an instrument and conduct a full-blown conversation at the same time was just one of them.

Gillian spoke of his kindness, ‘a gentleness of heart’, that he sometimes hid under a bit of bluster. 

Leonard was well known throughout West Cork, having served as a bank manager at the AIB branch in Schull for 30 years. But it was as an entertainer, including his equally long service as the musical director for local pantomimes and theatre productions, that he was more intimately known. ‘Music was his main passion,’ said Gillian. ‘At the age of 19, he joined the Rathmines and Rathgar Musical Society and it was part of his life ever since.’ Leonard, from St Luke’s in Cork City, passed away last Sunday at the age of 77, after a short illness.

His family – including his children Alan, Barry and Gillian, and their mother Marlene, his daughter-in-law Siobhan and Gillian’s partner James – have been inundated with expressions of sympathy from people who knew him from different places. He was also one of the mainstays of Skibbereen’s weekly market. 

Growing up he learned to play the piano, the violin, the harmonica and the concertina, but later in life taught himself the piano accordion. 

There was always, near his foot, a bucket for donations – the proceeds of which were handed over to Gorta, a charity that he supported in more ways than one. Leonard’s father was a mechanic – an inherited talent Leonard shared with the charity Gorta by fixing things that were broken. 

Out of all his interests, Gillian said his biggest delight in life was having his grandchildren, Óisin, Charlie, Evie and Elsie-Mai, nearby. She said: ‘They gave him serious joy.’

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