Colm Healion obituary: Gardener and avid fan of Gaelic sports

Lives lost to Covid-19: He and his late wife Bridie wore their Laois colours proudly

 Colm Healion spent his entire working life with the ESB, finishing his career as a property manager for the company

Colm Healion spent his entire working life with the ESB, finishing his career as a property manager for the company

 

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.

Colm Healion
1932-2020

Laois and the GAA were central to Colm Healion’s life. And 1949 was a crucial year. His beloved county were playing Tipperary in the All-Ireland hurling final and he joined the Laois Association Dublin.

It was a major moment in his life, because that was the year he met Bridie Mulhall from Glosna, a founder member of the association, which was established as a way of bringing the Laois community together and supporting the team.

It was not to be Laois’s year but it was Colm and Bridie’s year and the couple went on to celebrate 61 years of marriage before her death in November 2019 in Beneavin House nursing home, where they were both living.

“They both absolutely loved their Gaelic sports, football and particularly hurling,” says their daughter Terri.

They had such pride in their county, Mam and Dad. It was a big, big part of their lives

“They would have always been completely and utterly tuned into the championship, all the intricacies of it, who was coming in back doors who was out and they would be glued to it every single Sunday.”

They were hugely involved in the Laois community in Dublin. “They had such pride in their county, Mam and Dad. It was a big, big part of their lives.”

Just over a year ago, in recognition of their contribution, they received the Laois Association Dublin Lifetime Achievement Award at a special ceremony in the Gresham hotel.

Living in flats in Glasnevin when they met, they moved to Clontarf after getting married and had four daughters Maura, Terri, Mel and Joan.

“Joan was profoundly mentally handicapped and would have been in St Vincent’s on the Navan road from the time she was about six years of age,” says Terri.

“My father was just an incredible carer for her and his heart was broken when she died.”

Colm was born into a large family in Mountmellick on January 23rd, 1932. His brother Brian is the last remaining sibling.

He attended school in Multyfarnham, Co Westmeath, and then spent his entire working life with the ESB, finishing his career as a property manager for the company with the conversion of a building beside the company’s headquarters on Fitzwilliam Street into the Georgian House Museum.

The neighbours tidied up the whole place, put out potted plants, put ribbons on the trees

Afterwards he was involved in property project management for building renovations undertaken by aid agency Concern.

He had always been a great gardener and would even go out onto the street and cut the grass verges on the road if they were overgrown.

He died on April 9th and when his funeral cortege came via his Clontarf home, “the neighbours tidied up the whole place, put out potted plants, put ribbons on the trees, and a next-door neighbour who’s a Holy Faith sister wrote a beautiful reflection and said it for him.

“They gave him the most amazing send-off which really made such an absolutely horrendous situation bearable on the morning.”

Bridie had wanted to be cremated and her ashes were interred with Colm in Fingal cemetery, with their daughter Joan.

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