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Anthony J Tobia

The Quay, Westport
The death has taken place at Mayo General Hospital, following an illness borne with courage and good humour, of Anthony Joseph Tobia, Revenue Row, The Quay, Westport.
He was aged 75 years and was a retired businessman. Anthony and his wife, Julie, settled in Westport many years ago and were valued and popular members of the local community. He was devastated by the death of his beloved Julie just six months ago.
Apart from his family who always remained the main focus of his life, Anthony’s main interests were music, rugby, cricket and local history. He had a beautiful tenor voice which he used to good effect as a member of St Mary’s Church Choir and the Westport Musical Society.
He will be sadly missed by his son Tony (Westport), daughters Tessa McNally (Westport) and Emma Kate McCarthy (Kinsale, Co Cork), sister Ernestine McKay (Glasgow, Scotland), sons-in-law Tom McNally and Robert McCarthy, daughter-in-law Clare Browne, grandchildren, nephews, nieces, cousins, neighbours and many loyal friends.
Following repose at the family home, removal took place to St Mary’s Church, Westport, where Fr Denis Carney, Adm., officiated at the reception ceremony.
The hearse was flanked by a Guard of Honour drawn from the membership of St Mary’s Church Choir and Westport Choral Society.
The concelebrants of Anthony’s Funeral Mass were Fr Denis Carney and Fr Willie Spicer.
The readings were given by Anthony’s daughter, Emma Kate and his niece Oonagh McKay. The responsorial psalm was sung by Mary McGreal, a member of St Mary’s Church Choir which was under the direction of church organist, Gabriel Kelly.
The prayers of the faithful were read by Robert McCarthy, Gearóid Wycherley and Anne Roeburn.
The offertory gifts which included the bread and wine, a family photograph and Anthony’s church choir portfolio, were brought to the altar by his daughter Tessa, son Tony, close friend Seán O’Malley and Rachel Wycherley (niece of Anthony’s late wife Julie).
In his homily Fr Carney spoke of the Tobia family’s great sadness of having to bid farewell to a surviving parent less than six months after their first parent’s death.
“That is a very natural sadness.  Who we are and what we are comes from our parents.  Their love for us is there in sickness and health, in good times and bad.  They are the people who have shaped us.  But it is important to remember that Anthony, like his late wife Julie, had the precious gift of faith and that’s what gives us hope.  We take comfort from that in times of great sadness.”
Fr Carney said the last few years were not easy for Anthony.  As well as having to come to terms with his own serious illness, he also had to cope with the illness and death of his beloved Julie.
“Indeed, it is true to say that his desire to live diminished on the day Julie died.  Through his singing talents he honoured her on a number of occasions over the past six months and especially in recent Choral Society concerts.  Since then his health deteriorated rapidly and, today, we say farewell to him as he joins Julie in eternal life.”
Fr Carney said the most frequently used word to describe Anthony since news of his death broke was ‘gentleman’. In his case it was a very accurate description for he was a gentleman through and through.
“He was proud of his Italian background and he had his own unique sense of humour. He had a keen interest in rugby, cricket and Irish history and had a close association with the Westport Historical Society. Music was an integral part of his life and he loved to use his marvellous singing talents for the enjoyment of others.”
Fr Carney said Anthony had spent many happy hours solving the world’s problems with “the end of the counter gang” and they were loyal to him right to the end, visiting him in hospital and supporting him right to the end through their friendship.
“It was ironic that he should have died during a general election campaign as he had a huge interest in politics. He wore his Fianna Fáil colours on his sleeve and he would never have been swayed by any argument that a vote elsewhere could mean a Taoiseach from Mayo. Anthony will be very fondly remembered by his son, daughters, extended family, choral colleagues and loyal friends for all the right reasons” he said.
Anthony was laid to rest in the family grave in Aughavale Cemetery. Peace to his gentle and noble soul.
His Month’s Mind Mass will take place in St Mary’s Church, Westport, on Sunday, May 27. Donations in his memory may be made to Mayo Roscommon Hospice.