Andrew O’Halloran obituary: Andy died 9 months after his wife

Lives lost to Covid-19: Before he died, Andy let everyone know that he’d married the love of his life

Andrew (Andy) O’Halloran.

Andrew (Andy) O’Halloran.

 

This article is one of a series about people who have died with coronavirus in Ireland and among the diaspora. Read more at irishtimes.com/covid-19-lives-lost. If you would like a friend or family member included in the series, please email: liveslost@irishtimes.com.

Andrew (Andy) O’Halloran
1935-2020

When Andy O’Halloran worked in Leeds in the 1960s, he was a regular at Elland Road stadium and was friendly with some of the soccer legends of a golden era, including Norman Hunter.

For his family it was a poignant irony that Norman died two days after their dad, both with Covid-19.

Andy worked on building sites as a crane erector, having moved to Leeds with his English wife, Rhona Clark, whom he met in Dublin when she lodged with friends of his.

They married in 1965 and had five children – John, Kathryn, Sarah, Helen and Daniel.

Born on September 14th, 1935 to Charlie O’Halloran and Maisie Deegan, he was the eldest of eight brothers, one of whom – David – died as a young child. The family lived mainly in Cabra and Ballyfermot.

Andy left school in his mid-teens and worked as a car mechanic in Harold’s Cross for a number of years.

His main focus was on his family, his son John says.

“He left school without a qualification and had to work very hard all his life.

“At one stage he worked for a meat-processing plant in Ringsend that manufactured dog food and he worked 12-hour shifts seven days a week.

“Both himself and my mum put a huge weight on education. They made sure that the five of us got the best education that they could get for us.”

Andy survived tuberculosis, and he lost a kidney. He had a heart valve operation and had both knees replaced.

He worked for close to 20 years with the maintenance team in Blackrock shopping centre until retirement age, then got another concierge-style job in an office block.

He’d battled and kept a positive outlook but he really missed Mam

Always busy, when he turned 70 he became a sacristan at Our Lady of Mercy Church in Artane until memory loss became an issue. “On more than one occasion he returned home and said ‘Did I lock up the church?’ and he’d walk back up to check and of course it was locked.”

Rhona had early onset dementia and suffered a stroke and when Andy could no longer care for her she moved into Care Choice nursing home at Northern Cross near Coolock in 2016.

Gradually his own Alzheimer’s developed and he moved into Care Choice 18 months ago.

For his son, one of the few positives of the illness was that as a traditional man he became very expressive and had no difficulty “letting everyone know that he’d married the love of his life”.

His three children living in Dublin got to see him in the nursing home on April 15th before his death that evening, nine months after his wife.

“He’d battled and kept a positive outlook but he really missed Mam.”

After a church service live streamed for family abroad, he was buried in Glasnevin. Rhona had wanted to be cremated and her ashes were interred with him.

His brothers – Collie, Eamon, Harry and Brian – survive him.

Covid-19: Lives Lost

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