Tributes paid to 'iconic' Limerick retailer

Nick Rabbitts

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Nick Rabbitts

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nick@limerickleader.ie

Tributes paid to 'iconic' Limerick retailer

Tom Chawke and his wife Mary attending the Grocers Ball back in 2015 | PICTURE: GARETH WILLIAMS

TRIBUTES are being paid to former Castletroy retailer Tom Chawke, who has sadly passed away following a short illness.

The popular businessman, who was described as “iconic” by local auctioneer Tom Crosse, was well known for the landmark Chawke’s garage next to the Kilmurry Roundabout at the top of the Dublin Road. Generations of families would stop in the petrol station for refreshment before embarking on the long journey up to the capital, or indeed many places along the way.

Mr Chawke converted a small cottage on that site to a shop in 1983, before securing planning permission in 1988 to open a petrol station there, teaming up with oil giant Texaco. Over the years, the general store has been run under the Mace and Centra brands. Now, the gas station is run by Maxol, following Tom’s retirement in 2015.

Auctioneer Mr Crosse said: “He was an iconic businessman who left a huge mark in the retail industry in Limerick, developing one of the strongest establishments in the Monaleen/Castletroy area. He was a true gentleman, fondly loved by all. He will be sorely missed by his family, friends and the local community.”

Limerick Chamber chief executive Dee Ryan also paid a warm tribute to the businessman, describing him as a “pioneer”.

“He established a very busy grocery and petrol station in Castletroy. He kept pace with changing trends, kept the store very competitive and developed a whole retail unit and was hugely respected and admired by the business community. He was obviously very passionate about work and about his business. He treated all his staff very well, and was greatly admired,” she said.

Mr Chawke was a proud member and sponsor of Monaleen GAA Club, and their chairman Caroline O'Kane has described him as a "larger than life figure" in their community.

"Not only was he a long term sponsor of our club, he also gave employment to so many of our young adult members. A business which had humble beginnings grew to be the massive success it is today, built on the relationships Tom established in the community, and with the club. That relationship continues today with Tom's grandchildren Conor and Ben both playing at juvenile level," she added.

Mr Chawke passed away peacefully on July 13, surrounded by his loving family at Millbrae Lodge Nursing Home in Newport, Co. Tipperary.

The beloved husband of Mary, he was the adored father of Karen, Tony, Fergus, Louise, Paul and Mary, sons-in-law Mike Kemmy, Paul Tivnan and Matt Ryan, daughters-in-law Laura Kearney, Ciara Storan and Ann-Marie Masterson, cherished grandad to Niamh, James, Cillian, Aoife, Ben, Conor, Maia, Alison, Luke, Emily, Fiadh and Elise.

He was predeceased by his brothers Jack and Paddy. Fondly remembered by his brother Seamus, sisters-in-law, nephews, nieces, extended family, dear neighbours and a wide circle of friends.

A live stream of his funeral Mass on Thursday, July 16 at 12noon, with the link to be posted soon.

The funeral procession will pass through Castletroy on Thursday, July 16, from 11.30am via Golf Links Road, Schoolhouse Road, Castletroy College Road, pausing briefly outside Chawkes Maxol Castletroy.

Donations, if desired, to The Alzheimer’s Society www.alzheimer.ie

May he rest in peace.