Lives Lost to Covid-19: Nigel Pim – Quaker and kidney donor – died in January, aged 50

Nigel Pim, ‘strong, determined and kind’, died of coronavirus on January 14th

Nigel Pim, 1970-2021

“Kind” is a word you hear over and over again when you talk to people who knew Nigel Pim.

He “encapsulated the fact that you can be strong, you can be determined, but you can also be kind. He very much appreciated family and his Quaker roots and ethics,” says his wife and soulmate, Jeni.

Since he died, on January 14th, at the age of 50, Jeni and their children, Robert and Jordan, have been struck by the number of people he interacted with whose lives he changed for the better, in his quintessentially quiet and unassuming way.

One of the things Nigel didn’t talk about much was his donation of a kidney, in 2011, to his father, Alan, who survives him. “Very few people knew Nigel had done it. He had to take six weeks off work afterwards, but he worked from home and didn’t tell a soul. I was shouting it from the rooftops, because I was so proud, but also because we wanted people to know you can be a living donor,” Jeni says.

READ MORE

It was a measure of Nigel that he spent last Christmas Eve volunteering with the Samaritans in Waterford, something he did in memory of his mum, Sue Pim, who died in 2015. He loved "that it was all about quietly listening. He was very much of the philosophy that you have two ears to listen but only one mouth to speak."

Nigel was born on April 8th, 1970, to Alan and Sue, the second youngest of their four children. He grew up on Summerville Avenue in Waterford city and attended Newtown School, where both his dad and his uncle were teachers. But the rugby pitch and the athletics track always held more appeal for him than the classroom. Later, Nigel would become a valued member of several school committees and governor of its patron body.

After leaving school he moved to study accounting in Dublin, which is where he met Jeni, through mutual friends. They moved for a time to Glanmire, Co Cork, where he worked in accounting and played rugby for Cork Constitution, Old Christians and Munster Juniors.

Robert was born in Cork in 1998, and Jordan was born in Waterford in 2002, after Nigel and Jeni moved back there to set up an accounting and payroll software company together. As a family they did everything together. In the early days, baby Jordan was sometimes in her car seat under one of her parent’s desks. When the children got older, Nigel roped them into the business, stuffing envelopes. “People always said ‘Jeni and Nigel’, but he was always the better part of the team. He genuinely led. I always felt so safe with him,” she says.

Nigel eventually returned to academia, and thrived doing a master's degree in business at Waterford Institute of Technology. He was due to graduate in January, before he tragically became ill with Covid.

“He was so good to so many people,” Jeni says. “I wrap myself up in that. That’s the blanket of support around me, and Jordan and Robert. The knowledge that so many people loved him.”

Jennifer O'Connell

Jennifer O'Connell

Jennifer O’Connell is a feature writer and opinion columnist with The Irish Times