THE LATE Jack Bourke might be first and foremost known as a three-time Mayor of Limerick.
This he achieved inspite of being ‘a Dub’, his funeral mass heard this Wednesday, and he did so with great political acclaim.
But aside from his public life he was a great many things to many people, who will still hold him close to their hearts.
His uncle Peadar said Jack was more like a brother to him than a nephew, but he was “privileged” to be his uncle.
But Jack, who passed away aged 80 this week, was “lost” without his dear wife Monica, who passed away last year. A photo of the couple was placed on his coffin on the altar of the church. One of his favourite songs was Somewhere Over the Rainbow, said his uncle as he broke into a touching rendition of the song, imagining that Jack and Monica are now happy somewhere over the rainbow.
Fr Patrick O’Sullivan, chief celebrant at his funeral mass in Our Lady Queen of Peace church, along with Fr Tom Ryan, Caherdavin, said while his funeral is a very public day, it is also a very personal time for his four children.
Fr O’Sullivan spoke to over 200 parishioners and friends of the Fianna Fail stalwart of his “great service to the city over many years”, especially during his mayoralty and his chairmanship of the Health Board for nearly 20 years.
But he was also a great family man and a great husband. “Part of Jack’s life went with Mo [Monica]. Any time you spoke to Jack, Mo always came into the equation,” he said.
Friends recalled his quaint, wry sense of humour; a “wholesome” person, who loved the theatre, swimming, golf, and a good joke. In politics too, he was accustomed to enjoying a good slagging.
“He was a great friend when things were good, and an even better friend when things weren’t that good,” said his friend of close on 60 years, Tom English.
“He was a mayor this city could be proud of.”
*See this weekend’s Limerick Leader broadsheet edition for more on the sad passing of Jack Bourke