The death has occurred of John Challoner from Mountmellick at the age of 63.
John, originally from Mountbellew in Galway, worked as an agricultural advisor in Teagasc in Portlaoise from 1979 until his retirement last summer.
An expert in the beef and tillage sector, John was extremely well known among the Laois farming community and was a visitor to many farms in the area over a long number of years.
And he was also heavily involved in the GAA, having served in almost every role in Mountmellick GAA from juvenile all the way up to chairman of the adult club. He was chairman in 2006 when the club ended a long spell without success by winning the intermediate football title and was also instrumental in the development work carried out on the grounds in Acragar, making the facilities among the finest in the county.
Indeed the Challoner family have a deep association with the club with his oldest son Aidan the current chairman. A number of matches this week involving Mountmellick have been postponed as a mark of respect.
“John was originally from Galway but has been a member and massive part of Mountmellick GAA since the early ‘80s giving countless hours towards the betterment of the club and was heavily involved in the development of the 2nd pitch and the new Clubhouse in Acragar,” said a statement on the club’s Facebook page today.
“John was the Club rep at county board for a number of years and Chairman of the Club from 2004 to 2009 and it was during that time in particular that it seemed John was at every match and training session going, hurling and football giving encouragement and a helping hand wherever needed.
“John’s enthusiasm and love of Mountmellick GAA was never waivering and he will be sadly missed from all at Mountmellick GAA who knew him.
“Ar dheis de go raibh a anam.”
John was involved in a bad car accident in February and was a patient in Tullamore Hospital since. He had been in good form in recent times and even had visitors on Sunday not long before passing away.
John is survived by his wife Deirdre (nee O’Loughlin), sons Aidan, Jarlath, Robert, Oisin, his four grand-children, brothers, sister, relatives and a large circle of friends.
Funeral arrangements to be announced.