BILLY O’Keeffe, owner of the long established printing works, The Kilcolman Press, died last week. He was in his 80s and was truly one of nature’s gentlemen.
Billy operated his business behind the family home at Convent Road, Claremorris, for many years. It was a venture that was new to him at the time he opted for it as a profession. His late father Bill ran a garage business at Convent Road from around 1940 up to 1961 when it became a victim of the famous Hurricane Debbie.
Billy brought a personal and homely touch to the Kilcolman Press. He was blessed with a brilliant and inventive mind and was regarded as a leader and pioneer in his chosen profession.
He specialised in wedding stationery and bringing creative design to posters. Billy had the regular order for the old Central Cinema on James Street and printed all their monthly programmes back in those times.
Billy’s gentle and quiet nature endeared him to all. His neighbour Peter McCallig, chairman of Claremorris Drama Festival, described him as “as one of the loveliest people to do business with.” He said the smallest order was received with the same warmth and courtesy as those placing much bigger orders.
“Anyone who ever dealt with Billy became a friend from then on. He was a man ahead of his time and was an absolute genius when it came to inventing new ways and styles. He had a brilliant mind and people always felt so at ease in his company. He was a very special person to all of us who lived on Convent Road in former times,” said Mr McCallig.
Removal took place from Gilligan’s Funeral Home to Claremorris Church on Saturday evening with interment in St Colman’s Cemetery following Requiem Mass celebrated by Fr Peter Gannon, PP, on Sunday.
Billy, who was predeceased by his brothers Ger and Ted and his sister Evelyn, is survived by his sister Celio (Dublin), nephews, nieces, in-laws, relatives, neighbours and friends.