The Fairgreen, Westport
The death has occurred of Seán Phillips, The Fairgreen, Westport, in his 81st year.
Seán was born in Newport in 1937 to Paddy and May Philips. He moved to Westport with his mother, father and his sister Maureen when he was three years old. He went to school in Westport CBS on Castlebar Street. On leaving school he worked in various jobs; Heneghan’s Bridge Street, in CIE as a porter, then he went to live with an aunt in Liverpool before travelling to London to work with a general electric company until 1961 when he came home. He commenced work then as a mechanic in the textile factory where he stayed until he retired in 1995.
His mother passed away 34 years ago with his sister Maureen having died in 1988. His father Paddy had died some years before. Seán loved his mother with great care and devotion and in his hall way hangs a mother’s blessing in her memory.
At his funeral Mass in St Mary’s Church in Westport, Seán’s neighbour on the Fairgreen, Bernie Byrne, paid tribute to Seán in a moving eulogy at the end of the Mass.
“The Fairgreen is our village within, a tight and warm community; it is said that a man’s reflection is in his friends and Seán had many. They played a huge role in keeping his life safe on the Fairgreen; the shopping was done, the pension was drawn, the ‘message in a bottle’ delivered. Alongside these loyal friends Seán also had a team in his home place: plumber, electrician, carpenters, solicitor, as well as medical and clerical backup.
“Food, drink were offered, never asked for or expected but arrived to him as we saw the need arise, especially in the last few weeks, as he grew frail. All given with and accepted with respect. Seán was a proud man.
“When we wondered over the last days where we would get a nice photo of Seán for the church/coffin, i-Phones and Facebook lit up. One was quickly chosen and framed. He was also on Youtube courtesy of Ollie Whyte and he quite enjoyed viewing himself on TV, smiling away when we saw himself.
“There are many stories to be told about Seán but one in particular comes to mind. In company one evening someone said ‘Seán you have charisma’, ‘oh God is that serious?’ he asked. You see Seán was witty, wise and wiley but so gentle and very real to himself and others.
“We who lived beside him and knew him on the Fairgreen would mourn his loss and presence in our lives. Always there, just Seán, never a burden just part of us. Thankfully, the next generation also got to know him, his values and his generosity. He gave of himself though having little he still gave.
“His home helps Mary and Wendy were terrific and did both above and beyond their duty of care. Doctors Ollie Whyte, junior and senior, McBride home day service, Dr Cyril Rooney, Nurse Mary Loftus and health care assistant Anne Coleman and staff of A-ward were all superb and diligent in the care with which they gave care. Last but not least, Maeve Moran, his public health nurse played a huge role in Seán’s last months on the Fairgreen.
“Paddy, my husband, and I had the privilege of being with him on that final vigil. Toby Gibbons and Patrick Joyce were with Seán’s family as he traveled to that last part of the track, very peacefully and with dignity.
“Seán always called the lads ‘boy’, so in his own words ‘until we meet again boy’, sleep easy your neighbours have candles out to light your way. We will miss you terribly, rest in peace Seán,” concluded Bernie.
Seán was laid to rest in Aughagower Cemetery.