Home Deaths Funeral takes place in Durrow of beloved community figure, Hughie Sheppard

Funeral takes place in Durrow of beloved community figure, Hughie Sheppard

There is great sadness in Durrow this week following the passing of a beloved figure in the community.

Hughie Sheppard, from Derry Road in the town, passed away on Friday at his residence, surrounded by his loving family.

Hugh was a giant of a figure in his beloved Durrow, working tirelessly over the years on many community projects. The very essence of a community man, he displayed huge vision as a driving force behind many projects – and had a boundless enthusiasm for anything he got involved in.

He was laid to rest on Monday afternoon in the Holy Trinity Church cemetery in Durrow, where Mr Sheppard’s son, Brian spoke highly of his late father:

“I’d like to thank all the neighbours, friends and clubs who rowed in to help over the last few days, and during Dad’s illness; as well as being a huge help to us, Dad would have liked nothing more than to see the community pulling together like that,” Brian said.

“His passion as young boy was hurling… He went on to play centre-field for Laois in the All-Ireland Minor final in 1964. He never talked about it though; maybe because of his natural modesty, or maybe because they lost by 30 points.

“He left school early to work on the buildings with Frank Campion, and eventually went out on his own as a plasterer. It was while working with him as a teenager many years later that I first saw two of the traits that he displayed throughout his life: work-ethic and perfectionism.

“Dad’s love for his family was foremost. Throughout our childhood, he was a figure of support, kindness and love.

“He loved Durrow like it was a person; I thought of it as his fifth child. His legacy to the town is amazing.”

Mr Sheppard spent his life working on numerous initiatives and projects for the betterment of his local community, and was presented with the Community Endeavour Award for his contributions by Durrow Development Forum in 2017.

As a founding member of the Development Forum, he had a pivotal role in developing the Mill Wheel and Cannon Carrigan amenity areas, the Leafy Loop Walk, the Courthouse Library, the community playground and the Scarecrow Festival.

Since retiring from the Durrow Development Forum in 2011, Mr Sheppard remained involved in other local projects, including cycling trails and the Durrow High Nellies.

The Durrow Development Forum described Mr Sheppard as “a great visionary and community man who loved Durrow,” adding, “His contributions to improving Durrow will always be remembered and enjoyed for generations to come.”

Mr Sheppard was also heavily involved the local sports scene in Durrow, helping to found the Lions Soccer Club in 1971, before going on to help found the town’s first schoolboy’s team.

“No job was too big or too small for Hughie to undertake and complete, always with a smile , and a quick story. His legacy lives on in our club with his sons and grandchildren and many friends,” the Lions said.

From 1989 to 1992, Mr Sheppard was also chairperson of the Harps GAA Club, who said: “Hughie’s contributions to our club will always be remembered.”

Hughie was pre-deceased by his wife Mary, parents Tommy and Eileen.

He is deeply regretted by his loving wife Kay, children Brian, Raymond, Adrian and Lisa, stepchildren Orlaith, Mary and Anne Marie, grandchildren Ciara, Eoin, Aoife, Darragh, Sophie, Charlie, Alex, Cian, Tommy and Ellie, daughters-in-law Caroline, Emma and Nadine, son-in-law John, brothers Eamon and Brendan, sisters Irene and Maureen, sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, nieces, nephews, neighbours, relatives and a large circle of friends.

May he rest in peace.

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