Celebrating the fruits of his labours – 52 years

A WELL-known and popular Piltown man was honoured in the GAA Pavilion on Saturday night.

A WELL-known and popular Piltown man was honoured in the GAA Pavilion on Saturday night.

A surprise party was held for Lory O’Brien, who retired last week after serving 52 years in the fruit and veg business.

Lory was taken aback when he arrived at the GAA complex, when over 200 people from his family, friends, neighbours and customers were there to wish him well on his retirement.

Lory is a bit of a legend around these parts of Piltown and Templeorum. A huge community activist, he is the true Gael, involved in local Templeorum Church, GAA, Pioneers, Saturday night dancing at the complex and much more.

Lory started off his working career when, at the age of 17, he joined Spensers, a well-known fruit and veg wholesalers company. He said he never forgot Frank Spenser’s advice to him when he left the company at the age of 28, to commence his own delivery service around the South East – “to offer quality, service and price” to his customers. This is advice that Lory took with him and served him well for the following 45 years.

Lory was well known around towns and villages of Kilkenny, Waterford and Tipperary as he set off from his home in Jamestown every morning at 6.30am.

Always in great jovial humour, (unless the black and amber were going through a bleak patch), he provided a service through all kinds of weather and economic conditions. No union involved here. Just simple “get on with it and you will build your own success.” Maybe an example to us all in these times.

Anyone who knows Lory will know that he is deeply immersed in Gaelic games. Having played hurling for his native Piltown, he is a keen and devoted follower of the black and amber. He is involved in the ongoing fundraising for the Piltown Complex. Every Saturday night of the year, Lory gathers showbands and groups from around the country to play at the Complex. Chairman of the GAA Dick Walsh praised Lory for Trojan work he does for the complex. He said the turnout for the retirement party showed how much the community regards Lory and his family.

Lory married Mary Purcell from Windgap and raised a talented family at Jamestown – Claire, Collette, Niall, Paul and Lorraine. The retirement party was organised mainly by his family and the dancing committee.

To the sounds of the Peter Burke Band, Lory was thrilled when his family produced a retirement cake in the shape of his white delivery truck, complete with number plate and the little black and amber flag that was seen flying from the rear door.

The baker of the cake, Pauline Doyle, an employee of Keoghs Bakery in Callan, had iced a picture of Lory and his grandson Harry in the cab. It was truly a masterpiece of work.

To add to the occasion, much to Lory’s delight, the Liam MacCarthy Cup made an appearance around midnight.

There is no doubt that Lory will not hang up his shoes,(especially his dancing shoes), but will have time to spend with his soulmate, Mary and family and grandchildren.

He will be missed on the fruit and veg rounds, but after a service of 52 years – what a record. Enjoy the break, Lory.