SADLY MISSED The late Mark Kavanagh.
Scenes of huge shock and sadness descended on Westport town last Tuesday, June 30, following the sudden and untimely death of Mark Kavanagh, Director of the Kavanagh Retailing Group, at the age of 41. For the days that followed, a heavy cloud shrouded Croagh Patrick, the holy mountain that Mark adored and had the pleasure of waking up to every morning of his life from his home in Rosbeg.
Mark was predeceased by his wife Claire, née Molloy who lost her long and valiant battle with cancer in 2013, at the young age of 33. Mark will be sadly missed by his loving and heartbroken family, his parents Noel and Marian, brother Noel Jnr, sisters Sarah and Laura, brother-in-law Dr Ronan Clancy, sister-in-law Síabhra, uncles, aunts, nephews, niece, extended family and a large legion of friends.
The funeral Mass for Mark took place on Friday at St Mary’s Church Westport where Fr Charlie McDonnell delivered a very special ceremony accompanied by Fr Tony King and Fr Pat Donnellan. Due to the Covid-19 restrictions, limited numbers attended, however it was watched live by thousands across the world on the parish Facebook page and can still be accessed there this week. Mark’s father-in-law, Matt Molloy performed beautiful entrance and post-communion flute solos.
To conclude his homily, Fr McDonnell, speaking with the permission of Mark’s family stated: “None of us want to be here today, and none of us want to be here again, in this way. Let us first and foremost, care for ourselves, and then care for each other, as Mark was so lovingly cared for by his family and friends, and in his memory now, let us now strive to do the same.”
The readings at the Mass were read by Mark’s sister Sarah and friend Mark O’Boyle. The psalm was sung stunningly by his cousin Myra Berry. Prayers of the faithful were read by his brother-in-law Dr Ronan Clancy, friends JP Walsh, Peter Corcoran, Ray Hanniffy and cousin Thomas Joyce.
Eulogy and final tribute
With raw grief in his voice, Mark’s brother Noel took to the altar in an extraordinary show of resolve, to speak of his brother and best friend.
Noel said his brother had the ‘kindest soul’ he knew and that it was apparent to him ‘from the hundreds of heartfelt messages over the past few days, that anyone who had the pleasure of meeting Mark at some point in their lives were greatly touched by his warmth, kindness and playful personality’.
“No doubt that this is the reason he amassed such an incredible circle of friends.
“Mark always wanted everyone to be happy and spent the vast majority of his own life with a smile on his face, and twinkle in his eye, and a kind word for everyone that he encountered. That will be the Mark that we will always remember. That’s the Mark that Mum, Dad, Sarah, Laura and I will carry forward as part of us for the rest of our lives.
“There will be brighter days ahead, they just won’t be quite as bright as before, without Mark’s shining light to bring a smile to our faces. Mark, we love you so dearly, may you rest in peace,” said Noel Jnr. The eulogy also contained some moments of humour, bringing smiles and some laughter to the sombre proceedings.
Towards the end of the service, Mark’s youngest sister Laura took to the altar with a beautiful communion reflection and a moving tribute. She spoke fondly about the recent months that Mark had spent at the family home in Seapoint House. She spoke of the dinners and barbecues that the family shared together on the fine evenings during the recent pandemic.
On a final note, she said: “Mark, all I can say is that you were too kind for this world, not a bad bone in your body. This world diminished dramatically last Tuesday when you left it. But you will be in our hearts forever, we love you so much. May you rest in peace.”
Laura also thanked the celebrants for their support and beautiful ceremony. Following final prayers of commendation, Mark’s remains were taken from the church to the sound of U2, his favourite band. A heavily street lined foot procession and guard of honour brought Mark up Bridge Street to a minute’s silence outside SuperValu, Shop Street. The funeral cortege then took Mark to his final resting place at Aughavale Cemetery, where he was laid to rest with his late wife Claire. Her father Matt performed a mystical graveside solo, with Mark’s gentle soul floating away with the ethereal notes upon the western winds. May his gentle soul rest in peace.