Castlebar reeling after tragic death of Gerry Deane
Friend pays tribute to a family man with a ‘heart of gold’
THE community of Castlebar was still coming to terms last night with the death of popular local man Gerry Deane (pictured above), who got into difficulty whilst diving in Killary Harbour on Sunday.
The alarm was raised early in the afternoon when Mr Deane failed to surface some time around 1.30pm. He had been diving with two others and was was pulled from the water shortly afterwards and airlifted to Galway University Hospital, but attempts to save his life were in vain.
An employee with the outdoor staff of Castlebar Town Council, Mr Deane was also involved with Castlebar Rugby Club and was a keen fisherman, diver and outdoors enthusiast. Aged in his early 50s, Gerry was a native of St Bridget’s Crescent in Castlebar, and lived in Knights Park with his family. He is mourned by his wife, Teresa; son, Mark; daughter, Rachel; sister, Ann-Marie Downes; other family members and many colleagues and friends.
Speaking to The Mayo News, Gerry’s lifelong friend Michael Cunningham, said his passing was a devastating blow to his family and the wider community, where he was held in such high regard.
“Anything Gerry did he put his heart in to it,” said Michael. “He was a giant of a man, a big strong fella with a heart of gold, who was devoted to his family and was so loved by all who knew him.”
Michael, a second cousin of Gerry, is President of Castlebar Rugby Club and also went to school with Gerry, from infant class in St Patrick’s NS in Castlebar. They worked together for Castlebar Town Council and Michael, known to everybody as ‘Fish’, also spoke of how Gerry was such an integral part of Castlebar RFC and in local fishing circles.
“He was great with the youth, he worked with the first team and was a coach for the youth sides, and they loved him. They used to call him Hulk Hogan ’cause he was such a strong man, and with the moustache he looked like him a bit.
“He played rugby with us back in the ’80s, and we had got him back into it. He was loving it. Even with the fishing he was so devoted, involving the young people in competitions and encouraging them. At his son’s birthday parties years ago, Gerry would be out in the back garden surrounded by kids teaching them how to cast a fly rod. He was a true gent, and there are not too many of his calibre left now.”
Gerry’s remains were due back in his home in Castlebar last night. His funeral will take place in the town later this week.