The death occurred in St Columba’s Hospital, Thomastown of Peter Walsh, formerly of Loughboreen, Bennettsbridge. Better known as Pete to his friends and neighbours in the community, he was a well loved character in the village. Although Pete had been in St Columba’s Hospital for 29 years, he was still remembered with fondness in the parish and when news came of his death, there was much regret.
He was born in 1930 to Peter and Elizabeth Walsh, Loughboreen, one of two brothers in the family. He was predeceased by his brother John some years ago. He spent part of his working life in Kilkenny Woollen Mills and was also employed on Pat Mosse’s farm and in the latter years with Barry Whelan.
Pete had a very friendly disposition and enjoyed meeting people. He was associated with the Bennettsbridge Dramatic Society and had a great talent in this area. He was a good singer and his party piece was “The Indian Song”, and he would wear a feather headdress on occasion to add to the drama. Always up for a challenge, Pete took part in a television advertisement for beer film filmed in the village in the seventies. He was also a loyal member of the parish choir.
However, it was probably in St Columba’s Hospital that Pete found his niche. From the time he arrived in the hospital he made it his home and took part fully in all the activities available. One activity close to his heart was art and he became an accomplished artist during his time there. In his homily, Fr Ryan said that Pete was part of the fabric of the hospital and was known to all for his friendly nature. He was to all intents and purposes a family member and he will be missed by all the staff, carers and patients.
St Columba’s Hospital Chapel was filled for Pete’s Funeral Mass which was concelebrated by Fr Dermot Ryan, Thomastown, Fr Patrick Duggan, PP, Tullaherin and Fr Dan O’Gorman, Woollengrange. Members of the nursing staff and carers took part in the liturgy and the Choir sang throughout the ceremony, accompanied by Mollie Cahalane. The prayers of the faithful included a tribute to the Wheelchair Association which had played such an important role in Pete’s life allowing him to enjoy many outings to matches and other events. A beautiful mass booklet with his photograph was produced by staff members for the service. The gifts presented at the Offertory reflected Pete’s interests in life and included his rosary beads, pack of cards and one of his water colours. There was a large attendance in Bennettsbridge to meet the funeral when Pete was brought home to his final resting place. Prayers at the graveside were recited by Rev Pat Duggan and Rev Dermot Ryan. He is survived by his cousins, Michael McCarthy, Marian Place and Milo Dillon, Ballyreddin, nephews, nieces, other relatives neighbours and friends.