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Mayo and Manchester mourn Tommy Joe Duffy

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BACK HOME IN MAYO Tommy Joe Duffy is pictured back in 2006 when he was interviewed by Edwin McGreal of The Mayo News.


THERE was a real sense of sadness and loss in Mayo and in Manchester last week when the news broke that Tommy Joe Duffy had gone to his eternal reward.
A native of Killawalla, Tommy Joe spent all of his adult life in his adopted home of Manchester and passed away peacefully there surrounded by his family at the age of 79.
Tommy Joe’s death sadly comes just seven weeks after the passing of his eldest son Tom, who died after a long battle with illness at the age of 57.
Tommy Joe was also predeceased by his wives Doreen (who died in 1996) and Patricia (who passed away in 2014).
Tommy Joe and his friend Frank Burke left Killawalla in 1961 and ventured to Manchester in the hope of finding regular work. Having secured employment, Tommy Joe met his wife to be, Doreen (nee Donegan, from Gurteen in Sligo), in Manchester and they were married and had four in family, the late Tom Jnr, Teresa, Chris and Doreen Jnr.
Tommy Joe worked mainly in the construction industry most of his life and also ran The Railway Bar in Salford for a time.
However, Tommy Joe was perhaps best known in Manchester for his close association with St Lawrence’s Na Piarsaigh GAA Club, of which he was a founding member.
The club released the following statement last week:
“The hearts of the St Lawrence’s family are filled with sadness today as we mourn the passing of our friend and founder member Tommy Joe Duffy.
“Tommy and his family have remained heavily involved with the club until the current day.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with all the family at this time particularly as Tommy’s death comes so soon after the loss of his son Tom. Tommy’s passing leaves a huge hole in the club which he helped to form and shape.
“St Lawrence’s was formed in 1981 when Tommy had a conversation with Fr Emmett Fullen (who was parish priest of St Lawrence’s) and decided to form a Gaelic football team. In May 1981 they called a meeting which was attended by Tommy, Fr Fullen, his brother Kevin Fullen and Harry Purcell.  
“They decided to name the club St Lawrence’s, and those of us involved with St Lawrence’s will always be grateful for the vision of these men and the memories and friendships that have resulted from the formation of our Club over the last 41 years.
“In remembering Tommy we are full of gratitude for the legacy that he has left behind. There is no greater example of this than at Turn Moss on a Saturday when scores of children including Tommy’s grandchildren are having fun, making friends and developing a love of our culture and games. As a club we have very fond memories of Tommy and his influence will be greatly missed. Mary Queen of the Gael pray for him.”
Once he settled in Manchester, Tommy Joe was a very frequent visitor back home to his native Killawalla, and his holiday home beside the farm where he grew up was always busy with members of his extended family.
On his retirement, Tommy Joe purchased a house in Roscahill, Kilmeena, and once again immersed himself in the wider Mayo community. He re-married in 2007, and he and Patricia Mooney settled in Kilmeena, while still frequently visiting both their families in Manchester.
Sadly, Patricia was diagnosed with cancer in 2013 and she passed away in September 2014.
Tommy Joe continued to live in Kilmeena until recently, when illness necessitated a move back to his family in Manchester.
Sadly, during this time Tommy Joe saw his daughter-in-law Gillian pass away from cancer at the age of 55 last August, and just over six weeks ago, he buried Gill’s husband and his eldest son Tom Jnr on Monday, May 30.
Requiem Mass is to take place at St Winifred’s RC Church, Mauldeth Road, Heaton Mersey, Stockport, Cheshire SK4 3NB on Tuesday, July 26, at 12 noon, followed by burial at Stretford Cemetery.  Tommy Joe was predeceased by his parents Michael and Maria, brother Jack, his wives Doreen and Patricia and son Tom Jnr.
He is survived by his daughters, Teresa Tolan and Doreen O’Hara, and son, Chris, who all live in Manchester; brothers, Michael Bernard (Philadelphia), Padraic (Killawalla), Eamonn (Killawalla), Seamus (Manulla), Vinnie (Manchester) and sister Maura (Partry); sons-in-law Paul and Brendan, grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces and nephews and a wide circle of friends in Manchester and right across Co Mayo. May his gentle soul have restful peace.