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Sadness in Portlaoise and beyond at passing of well-known business man

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Gardening expert Dermot O'Neill cuts the tape with Pat and Patsy Miller at the opening of the new Miller's Hardware store in 2008

One of Portlaoise’s best-known businessmen Pat Miller has died.

Pat, who only turned 70 in recent days, was the owner of Miller’s Hardware on Coliseum Lane, the long-standing shop which closed in 2017.

He had been in ill health in recent times and passed away after a spell in hospital on Wednesday morning.

Pat set up the Miller’s Hardware business in 1973 and for many years was one of the leading figures in the Portlaoise business community – heavily involved in a variety of traders group and the Chamber of Commerce.

A loyal GAA man, he was also one of the main drivers behind a Laois Supporters Club in the 1990s and a generous supporter of many local sports clubs and groups.

The well-known hardware shop was established in April 1973 by Pat Miller and was originally on Main Street before moving to Coliseum Lane in 1980.

And while it remained there for a little over a quarter of a century, it moved to a custom-built 10,000 square-foot store on the same site in 2006.

It was a leading destination for chainsaws and lawnmowers as well as a busy hardware section. However, the effects of the recession, coupled with a move towards out-of-town outlets, hit hard and it closed in August of last year.

Originally from Timahoe, Pat lived in Meelick outside Portlaoise. He is survived by his wife Patsy, daughter Olga, sons Patrick and Ronan, son-in-law Liam, daughter-in-law Nikki and grand-children Ryan, Sarah and Ewan.

His son Patrick was involved in the business with him and recently opened Miller’s Home and Garden on the Dublin Road.

Pat is also survived by his brothers Chris, John, Dick, Tom and Jim and sisters Margaret and Mary. He is pre-deceased by his brother Bobby and sisters Agnes and Sister Julia.

Pat was very proud of his Timahoe roots – his brother Dick was chairman of Laois GAA from 2000-2007 while another brother Bobby is regarded as one of Laois’s greatest ever footballers and managed Laois in the 1980s. Bobby’s daughter Alison is one of the top Irish ladies rugby players and Pat followed her career with great interest in recent years too.

On their bikes for the launch of Car Free Day in Portlaoise, led by Pat Miller, president Portlaoise Chamber of Commerce. This photo was taken by Alf Harvey in 2000

Pat was a regular supporter at Laois games, a frequent race-goer and a member of The Heath Golf Club for many years.

In Portlaoise he was a visible presence around the town centre, often with his fellow traders and good friends Alan Flynn of AJ Flynn’s Menswear and John McNamee of Eason’s. Jim’s Country Kitchen in Hynds Square was their regular morning meeting point prior to its closure. Richard Downey from Downey’s Autostop was another good friend.

Pat Miller with his son Patrick Miller at the opening of their new Miller’s Hardware store in 2008

Sadly John McNamee and Jim Tynan passed away in recent years too while another good friend was Dan Lalor from Timahoe who died last year. Dan worked in the workshop in Miller’s Hardware.

Funeral arrangements will be announced later.

SEE ALSO – End of an era in two Laois schools as well-known principals retire