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Farewell to a Gentleman

Pat Malone of Bodyke died on 11th January 2020 in his 89th year. For many, the death of the famous Bodyke shopkeeper was like the death of a family member because Pat, his wife Maureen and their children Brendan and Barbara were so much part of the daily life of local people. We knew them almost as well as we knew members of our own families and the Malones knew us and cared for us. Many families in the locality experienced that care in happy times and in difficult times and are truly saddened by his passing.

Pat was born to Michael and Sarah Malone on 20th August 1931 and after leaving school he commenced work in the family shop and endeared himself to generations of customers down through the years. Pat worked diligently in the shop and managed the family farm and he stepped back only in recent years due to illness. Stoicism and his great faith helped him to deal with the tragic loss of his brother Micheal in late 1969 and marriage in 1972 to Maureen Walsh and the arrival of their beloved Brendan and Barbara brought him great happiness and gave him a new lease of life.

Pat always had time for his customers and they appreciated this. He would chat about cattle prices, hurling scores, weather events or long-dead parish characters while he assembled groceries. Younger customers used to watch in delight while he deftly flicked open the ice cream carton with a big knife before cutting enough for a six-penny wafer from the block or they might have watched in awe as he divided a length of Garryowen tobacco into two-ounce cubes with a dangerous-looking chopper. Customers came from far and near for anything from silage-wrap to bluestone and from wellingtons to cured bacon because they knew that  Pat Malone had in his shop almost anything they would need for home or farm. On his Wednesday trips to Limerick Pat often collected prescription items from Widdess’ Chemists for customers who would not have been able to travel themselves and there was always room in his famous green van for a bulky item that somebody might want from a big Limerick store. Pat always remembered regular customers at Christmas, he treated children who had received First Holy Communion in the church across the road and he never forgot to congratulate any parishioner who had experienced success in any sphere.

Pat’s Funeral Mass was concelebrated in the church which overlooks his shop by Fr David Carroll PP, Fr Donagh O’Meara PP Mullagh and Fr Jackie Sharpe CSSp. At the commencement of the service symbols of Pat’s life including his famous blue shopcoat , his cattle stick, a Clare jersey and a prayerbook were brought to the altar by his grandchildren. During his homily Fr David spoke of the love that Pat, a true gentleman, had for his family and for his local community and he said that he witnessed how Pat, helped by his strong faith , had faced his final illness with great courage. At the end of Mass Pat’s grand-daughter Clara thanked all who had looked after Pat in UHL and in Raheen Community Hospital during his final illness and she recited her own poem in loving tribute to her grandfather.Pat’s nephew Jim Vaughan reminded the congregation of Pat’s love for his native place and of how contented he was with his life in Bodyke. The raging Storm Brendan abated as Pat’s remains were being taken from the church to be laid to rest in the family plot overlooking his home and the large congregation from the church gathered around the grave for a final farewell to a good man. Pat’s death marks the end of an era and sympathy is extended to Maureen, to Barbara, Brendan and their families and to Pat’s sister Biddy Vaughan and her family.

Ar dheis De go raibh anam dilis Phadraig.

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