THE well known engineer Michael Punch has died after a short illness.
Mr Punch, who founded Michael Punch and Partners in 1973 in Limerick, was 79 when he passed away this Tuesday in Beaumont Hospital. He is survived by daughter Pattie, sons Edward, David and Jeffrey, brothers Ned and Pat and was recently predeceased by his brother, the late solicitor David Punch and his wife, Geraldine, who died in 2008.
Mr Punch, who was born in Crecora and lived in Patrickswell, founded the company - now known as Punch Consulting - and saw it grow to employ 160 people at peak, with offices in Limerick, Dublin, Cork, UK and Saudi Arabia. He was a former chairman of Shannon Development and was well known for his active work in numerous charities, including the establishment of Milford Hospice and St Gabriel’s Centre and School - work for which he was honoured with a mayoral reception in March of this year. The engineer was described by colleagues as a man whose “generous spirit and inspirational leadership” would be fondly remembered.
“Mike was an inspirational leader,” said Punch Consulting Chairman Pat Hanley this Thursday. “He was a great friend not just to the office but to the thousands of people he met over his long life. He led by example and his social commitment will continue to inspire us.”
An attendee of Crecora National School and St Munchin’s College, Michael graduated from UCC in 1952. One of his earliest jobs was as an engineer in Rathkeale converting the old workhouse into a meat factory. While there he met his future wife, Geraldine Thornton. later emigrating to Africa, where the couple were married. They lived in London and later New York before returning to Ireland and one of his earliest projects was the enlargement of Janesboro Church.
A keen sports fan, Michael was a talented horseman and follower of Limerick hurling and was engineer to Limerick’s Gaelic Grounds since the 1970s - a fact remembered at this Wednesday’s Munster minor hurling match, where a minute’s silence was observed before the game.
Close to 100 friends and family of Mr Punch attended his mayoral reception last month, with Mayor Maria Byrne paying generous tribute to him, declaring him to be “one of the unsung heroes” and “a role model for other people to follow”.
Responding, Michael said it was “great to see so many friends and colleagues here, but it is Limerick people who deserve the credit, not me”.
“The generosity of Limerick people is fantastic. I should not be here, there should be half a dozen other people (here) who have done an awful lot of the work down through the years.”
Removal from Milford Care Centre mortuary Friday to Crecora Church at 8pm. Funeral at 11am Saturday.