Paddy Davis obituary: ‘He was a great man’

Lives lost to Covid-19: ‘It’s heartbreaking, but I believe he’s in heaven with my mam now’

Paddy Davis  would talk to the birds and sit listening to them singing.

Paddy Davis would talk to the birds and sit listening to them singing.

 

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.

Paddy Davis
1933-2020

Born in 1933 on Dorset Street in Dublin to Arthur and Agnes Davis, Paddy was the eldest of nine children. At the age of 12 he left school and went to live with his grandparents, taking a job as a messenger boy. His grandfather had a horse and cart and worked from Dublin’s fruit and fish markets, but he drank heavily, and Paddy had a hard upbringing, according to his son Stephen.

Paddy met Mary Storey at a dance in the city centre. She was from Gardiner Street. Her family sold fruit and vegetables on Moore Street, and still do.

He was working shifts in the Irish Independent at the time, and took a half-day to marry Mary in Saint Francis Xavier Church on Gardiner Street. The couple went to live in Paddy’s grandmother’s house in Finglas, where they fostered two children in the early 1960s.

Stephen was adopted by the couple in 1965 at the age of six months, followed by Anthony – also at six months old – the following year. Both boys had been residents of the orphanage in Goldenbridge.

Paddy loved pigeons, canaries and budgies. “He would talk to the birds and sit listening to them singing,” Stephen recalls. “Everyone knew him. He used to bring me every Sunday to the bird market on Peter Street, and then we would go to see Hector Grey, who would be selling all sorts from a van.”

When Mary went into a nursing home in 2010, Paddy visited her every day until she died in 2012. “He missed her so much, he was lost without her,” says Stephen.

Paddy lived independently at home until 2018, when he ended up in hospital with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Stephen moved into the family home to care for him, until Paddy was diagnosed with dementia and moved to Silvergrove Nursing Home in Clonee in Co Meath on October 31st, 2019.

Paddy died on April 1st. Initially, the family thought he had died from pneumonia, but on April 4th, the day after his funeral, the nursing home called to say Paddy’s test for Covid-19 had come back positive.

“He is missed terribly,” Stephen says. “It’s heartbreaking, but I believe he’s in heaven with my mam now. He was a great man.”

Covid-19: Lives Lost

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