CAPPAMORE is renowned for its community spirit and Timmy Butler epitomised it, writes Donal O'Regan.
The sudden passing of the 68-year-old Farnane man shocked the parish and his many friends across County Limerick. But the biggest loss is to his loving wife Mary, daughter Aoife, sons Jamie, Neil and Tadhg, to his brothers Jimmy and Noel and to his sister Esther.
Timmy was involved in Cappamore GAA Club, Cappamore Show, Cappamore Tidy Towns, Cappamore Gun Club, Cappamore Development Association, Limerick diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes, Friends of St Michael’s Church and the local Fine Gael branch.
Minister Patrick O’Donovan said he knew Timmy for more than a decade. First, on a pilgrimage to Lourdes and then when he was a general election candidate.
Cappamore had been taken out of the old Limerick East and moved into Limerick County. Cappamore is a long way from his base in Newcastle West.
“Timmy and a few more from Cappamore came up to me after the convention and volunteered to help me. He became a great friend of mine after that and he gave me a huge amount of time and support.
“His heart was in the community. His heart wasn't in political argy bargy. His heart was in trying to do his best by the community,” said Minister O’Donovan.
He said in politics you have a lot of acquaintances but very few friends.
“I would count Timmy as a very good friend. I'm just shocked. I will miss him big time. He is a good friend and a good friend is gone. He exuded decency,” said Minister O’Donovan.
On the pilgrimage to Lourdes, the minister said Timmy was the life and soul of the party for the elderly and infirm. Timmy’s legacy is that he will be missed.
“I think that is the greatest legacy you can have in this life. Timmy’s journey here is over but I'm sure if they are voting somewhere else Timmy is putting up posters and handing out leaflets. Future elections won’t be the same without him,” said Minister O’Donovan, whose children loved seeing Timmy’s array of exotic birds and animals at the Cappamore Show.
Paddy Ryan “Luke”, long-serving secretary of Cappamore Show, said Timmy was a highly respected member of the committee.
“He was a great community man in so many walks of life. In the show he was involved in the preparation of the grounds and setting up his compound for the animals.
“He had a wide range of exotic birds and animals. It gave show patrons the opportunity to get up close to them. They commanded a great interest every year. He was a genius in that respect - he had a great love of nature,” said Mr Ryan.
He said that he and all committee members were shocked and saddened when they heard the sad news.
“Timmy is a major loss to his wife and family and to all of us who had the pleasure of knowing him. On behalf of Cappamore Show, I would like to extend my sympathies,” said Mr Ryan, who also spoke of quiet acts of kindness carried out by Timmy.
In his youth, Timmy hurled with Cappamore GAA Club and once retired he gave years of service as selector on multiple teams and as both manager and trainer of many underage panels.
Former Cappamore GAA chairman, Ger Lonergan said he got an awful shock.
“We do the lotto every Monday night and Timmy used to sell tickets. I used to call to him every week and we would have a great auld chat about hurling or whatever it would be. I only saw him four or five weeks before he passed away and he was in great form.
“Timmy played for Cappamore in a county semi-final in 1970 when he was only 17. Corner back or wing back were his positions. He had a long career with Cappamore. He was on the 1984 team that was beaten in the county final against the Well.
“Timmy was the finest,” said Mr Lonergan.
Cappamore GAA Club and, indeed, the whole parish held a socially distanced guard of honour at his funeral Mass. From the church in Cappamore to the graveyard in Doon, neighbours and friends stood outside their homes and at crossroads to say a final farewell to a man they held dear. For this, the Butler family are deeply appreciative.
The Tidy Towns was another huge aspect of Timmy’s life. He was chairman for over a decade. Secretary, Eamonn Mullane, said Timmy was an “extraordinary man” and one before his time.
“He had a huge interest in wildlife, the protection of wildlife, biodiversity, plants and flowers. He believed that each community had a responsibility to maintain itself to as good extent as they could.
“He saw his community as an extension of his own house. Timmy was proud of his house, his own place, proud of his own immediate locale, proud of the village, proud of the parish. He was constantly on the lookout for things that needed attention and developing areas of biodiversity. He did that with a pollinated refuge at St Mary’s riverside park,” said Mr Mullane.
Way before there was any public consideration on the environment and the impact human beings can have on the environment, Mr Mullane said Timmy was considerate of the impact he was having.
“He was a man before his time,” said Mr Mullane.
Cllr Martin Ryan said it has been a very sad time for Cappamore.
“Timmy was very much part of the show and the Tidy Towns - Timmy was a big part of Cappamore. He did a lot of good work for Cappamore and deserves a lot of credit for it. He was a very pleasant man to have a conversation with,” said Cllr Ryan.
Timmy will have a wry smile on his face at the last word going to a Fianna Fail man. But that was Timmy - nobody had a bad word to say about him.
May he rest in peace.
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