04 Jul 2022

OBITUARY: Fedamore's Pat Gleeson a 'man that had a passion for sport and politics'

OBITUARY: Fedamore's Pat Gleeson a 'man that had a passion for sport and politics'

MY dad, Pat Gleeson, was a Fedamore man first and foremost. Anytime he met someone who asked where he was from, he’d say -with a glint in his eye - that he was from Fedamore first, and Limerick second. Born in 1944, the youngest of 14, my dad met my mother in Lisdoonvarna and they married in Cappamore on the 19th of March 1969. They had three children, myself, Edwina and Clodagh.

His working life started in Billy Higgin’s, learning his trade. Having gained his experience, he then moved to Morses’ as a door-to-door sales rep. He was their top seller in the Munster region and was immensely proud of that fact. He went on to be self-employed for the next 25 years of his life.

He was very hardworking, but outside of work his next passion was soccer. He played with Fedamore in the 1970s, and the same jersey he wore then was produced and laid on his coffin last week. He trained Croom United in the ‘70s too, but his biggest achievement was winning the Golden Boot Award which was sponsored by Gleeson Sport Scene. Many of the players at the time were excited to meet my father, saying his name should be “Pele” when he was given the Golden Boot Award for the Best Player of the Season!

He loved soccer and he soon combined it with another love – a love of the radio. It wasn’t long before he started working with Big L on their sports programme. In the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, before the internet, the results would be coming thick and fast into the house. You could hear the coins drop in the telephone boxes - each call a new soccer result. On Monday mornings those results would be read out with all the passion he had for the game, and he always got the interviews that he wanted! He had a big following in Limerick in those days, and forever after. Many of the radio presenters today have contacted me with their fond memories and stories about his shenanigans during those “Big L days”, how he started and encouraged them to go on. If you were in the car with him and he heard any presenter on the radio he’d say “Do you hear him? I trained him up!”

After leaving the radio he would be called upon to organise all the big Gleeson family events, getting singers and entertainers for every occasion. He became deeply involved in politics, and when the Progressive Democrats were formed by Dessie O’Malley he was there that first night and campaigned tirelessly for Dessie and many candidates in the Limerick area for years afterwards. Candidates like Peader Clohessy, another Fedamore man! He loved to watch the politics programmes and particularly enjoyed when Vincent Browne came on and marked all the candidates out of 10. My dad always had his crystal ball out, trying to predict those election results.

Dad then went on to get a job as a “Street Ambassador” in Limerick city. These were the first group of helpful citizens who would show tourists where the Limerick landmarks could be found. After his time as a street ambassador, he went on to a similar job in Bunratty Castle and Folk Park. He loved meeting the American tourists and received many letters and postcards back from tourists saying how much they enjoyed their time with him. In his latter years he was involved with the Men’s Shed in Caherdavin and we were truly moved when they gave him a Guard of Honour at his funeral. I have no doubt that he was looking down with a great big smile at that!

My dad had great fun with his grandchildren, Mark, Orla, Ronan, Maebh, Darragh and Grainne. He loved seeing them coming in the door and they always had a big hug for him. Of course, he always quietly gave them money without their mothers knowing they got it! All you would hear was a whispered “Say nothing to your Mother”.

My dad and mam were happily married for 52 years, and in their later years they loved nothing more than going away into the beautiful countryside. They finally had a bit of time for themselves after fitting so much into a highly active life.

He will be sadly missed

We would like to thank Edel Heaney, Edwina O’Connor, (Pat’s Daughter) and Joan Giblin for the magnificent singing at the funeral. I would personally like to thank Shane, Damien, Michael, Niall, and Maria Gleeson for all their help these last few days. Also, Fiona Gleeson who organised the Mass booklets and Donie Daffy, who gave us great support and guided us through everything in this difficult time

I would like to thank the staff of the Midwestern Cancer Centre, 6B and the nurses and doctors of Abbey River House, as well as the neighbours and friends in Caherdavin Lawn who gave him such a warm send-off and the gardai from Henry Street who helped with traffic control ion the day.

Thank you. Brendan

-written by Limerick photographer Brendan Gleeson

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