Derreen, Newport Road, Westport
The death of Michael King, Derreen, Newport Road, Westport occurred on May 13th 2020. His funeral mass, which was private due to current Covid-19 restrictions, took place on Friday May 15th at St Mary’s Church Westport followed by burial at Aughavale Cemetery.
Michael (Mick) King was born in Leenane, Co. Galway in 1933 to Peter and Sarah King (nee Lyons) the youngest of four children. His mother died when he was two years old and the children went to live with relatives. Michael went to his aunt in Derreen near Kilmilkin between Leenane and Maam. At the age of seven he moved back to Leenane where he rejoined his siblings who were being cared for by their aunt, Mary, and her husband Michael Bernard King. He attended primary school in Leenane and recalled many happy holidays during this period spent with his cousins in Louisburg. He went to secondary school in St Mary’s College in Galway and while there he exceled at sports, in particular Gaelic football. In 1951 he was a member of the Galway minor football team that won a Connacht Final, a title that was subsequently lost in the committee room. The following year he was joint captain of the St Mary’s team that won their first ever Connacht Schools Senior A Championship beating Jarlath’s narrowly with a late goal scored from a penalty by Michael. He also played in Croke Park that year representing Connacht Schools.
Michael went to on to study veterinary medicine in Galway and University College Dublin and after graduating worked in Ballinrobe with Pat Daly and did locum work in various parts of the country. He then moved to Westport where he ran a veterinary practice for a number of years. He played football for Westport and represented Mayo in a hurling league match – he was always proud of having represented two different counties in two different codes. Michael then joined the Department of Agriculture based at first in the bacon factory in Castlebar and then moved to the veterinary office in Davitt House. He worked there until his retirement in 1998. Much of his working life there was taken up with the TB Eradication Scheme during which time he came to know every part of the county and many of its farming community. He was very proud of his granddaughter, Natalie, who recently completed her veterinary studies in UCD.
Michael met the love of his life, June, at a dinner dance in Castlebar in 1961 and they married a year later setting up home in Westport, first in Carrabawn and then shortly after on the Newport Road where they have lived for over 55 years. He loved Westport, the place and the people. He developed great friendships here and became actively involved in the community. He took up golf and was captain of Westport Golf Club in 1967 when he became involved in the early planning for the move to the new course in Carrowholly. His greatest golfing sporting moment was winning the Captain’s Prize in 1973, the first to be held on the new course. He missed the golf greatly in his later years but up until last year he was a regular attendee at the annual Past Captain’s dinner. Michael was an active member of Westport Horse Show Society fulfilling the role of Chairman from 1974 until 1980 helping to build up the show to a major event on the national show jumping calendar.
Michael was first and foremost a family man. He and June would have celebrated their 58th wedding anniversary next month. He was dedicated to his children, Peter, Michele (Shelly), Doreen, Michael, and Sarah, visiting them regularly including numerous trips to Shelly in Boston and a memorable visit to Sarah in Melbourne. He maintained very close bonds with his brother, Richard, and sisters, Mary and Eleanor, and their families throughout his life and he would have been a regular visitor to his aunts and cousins in Kilmeena, the Colony, and Accony. He was also very close to June’s family and always enjoyed visits from his nieces and nephews. He loved the company of his grandchildren, Daire, Johanna, and Ben, Meghan, Clara, and Ruairi, Conor, Paul, and Aine, Natalie, Seán, and Oisin, Rian and Charlie, and delighted in their various achievements.
Michael had been ill for some time and his family are very grateful for the care and support he received from his carer, Michelle, public health nurses, palliative care teams, doctors, and the HSE that allowed for him to be cared for at home.
The family would also like to thank Canon Anthony King who presided at the funeral mass and Fr Tod Nolan who said the prayers in Aughavale. They are also very thankful to Fr Charlie McDonnell for his support and particularly for organising the very high quality live streaming of the mass and burial which was so important to those family members that were unable to travel.
The family would like to acknowledge the many messages of condolences received over the past days and weeks in various forms including through social media and through RIP.ie and Mid West Radio. They have been a great source of comfort particularly at this time of social distancing and travel restrictions.