Finbarr Flood was described as a man of "fantastic charisma, great presence and highly principled" by Fr Niall Coghlan during his funeral in St John's Lane church, Thomas Street, Dublin, on Wednesday.
“In fact, what you saw was what you got,” Fr Coghlan said. “He worked tirelessly to help his fellow man and woman.’’
Mr Flood, former chairman of the Labour Court and managing director of Guinness – who also had a long association with Shelbourne football club as player and administrator – died earlier this week aged 77.
Fr Coghlan told the congregation of Mr Flood’s commitment to his extended family.
He said Mr Flood had been a much-loved husband and partner to his wife Anne. “They were soulmates and were so alike that, some might say, they deserved each other,” he said.
The priest described Mr Flood as a loving and supportive father, “a biscuit maniac’’ and a devoted grandfather and brother. “He was patient, funny, and he had a great sense of humour.”
Fr Coghlan said Mr Flood was a very good ambassador for a God of love, through his dealings with others.
Family and friends recalled the brilliant student who finished school at the age of 14, joining Guinness as a messenger boy, before eventually becoming managing director. They also paid tribute to his time at the Labour Court.
The gifts brought to the altar by family members included Mr Flood's 2006 autobiography, In Full Flood, his soccer goalkeeper gloves and a DVD of The Lion King, which reflected the many hours he had spent with his grandchildren.
Gary Brown, who succeeded Mr Flood as chairman of Shelbourne, recalled his late friend's career with the club, including his time as goalkeeper.
"He played in a few cup finals with Shelbourne,'' he recalled. "He also played in Scotland, where he was one of the first goalkeepers to wear an all-black outfit.''
He described Mr Flood as an “extremely calm, steely but very affable” man. “I think his personality enabled him to work his way around the Labour Court.”
President Michael D Higgins was represented at the funeral by his aide-de-camp Lt David Lyons. Those in attendance also included Mr Flood's cousin, broadcaster Gay Byrne.
The chief mourners were his wife Anne, children Barry and Susie, grandsons Josh and Alex and sisters Kalleen and Mary.
Mr Flood was buried in Mount Venus Cemetery, Rathfarnham, Dublin.