Aughagower, Westport, Co Mayo
A tribute to our wonderful father, Vincent Foy
By his children Anne-Marie, Michael, Seán, James, Patrick and Vinny
Our Dad passed away peacefully at home on April 30, 2022, aged 78 years.
Dad was born on July 7, 1943, in Aughagower, Westport, the third son of Patrick and Mai Foy. He often recalled his happy childhood in the village, playing with his brothers Paddy Joe and John and the Muldoons, or helping his father on the farm. At age 15, Dad was apprenticed to Gibbons’ store in Westport, a job he loved, where he was able to get to know all the characters in town. The store later became Conway’s and he would always be sure to stop in every time we were back in town.
A keen darts player, Dad won the West of Ireland darts competition twice, first when he was 17, and again at 21. He maintained a love of darts his whole life and a regular fixture of our childhood was the England vs Ireland Boxing Day darts match in the Plough in Westcliff. Dad was captain of the Ireland team and more often than not, he brought home the trophy for Ireland.
In 1966, aged 23, Dad left Mayo behind in search of excitement and new opportunities in England, a country he would come to love and call home for 50 years. He travelled widely, living in Liverpool, Derbyshire, Luton, London and following work wherever the new roads went. He settled in Westcliff-on-Sea where he met the love of his life, Joyce Dixon and they were married in 1971. They settled in Inverness Avenue where they spent many happy years near to friends and family. Together they raised a family of six and were an active part of Southend’s large Irish community.
Dad was a committed family man, who valued family above all else. He was never happier than when we were all together in Westport or the village. Coming from such a big family, there were always plenty of occasions to get together throughout the years. He loved to spend time with his grandchildren, Alana, Ollie, Poppy, Rory, Millie, Rosie, Evie, Alex and Cara and they all loved him so much.
One of Dad’s favourite pastimes was walking. When we were back in Aughagower, one of our favourite things to do was to put on our wellies and go for long walks with Dad and Prince the dog, over hills and through fields and streams that Dad himself had walked through many times as a boy. His grandchildren came to love these walks too and cherished this time with their Grandad.
Every summer as children, we would come back to Aughagower to spend time with family and to visit old friends and neighbours. Dad loved to visit Aasleagh Falls, Murrisk and Achill Island and always retained a deep love and awe for the beauty of his native county. A few years ago, some of us climbed Croagh Patrick with Dad. He loved this mountain and the views of Clew Bay and it was a spot we often visited through the years with him. In more recent years, he loved the family get-togethers where his children and grandchildren would come together for Christmas, Easter and summer.
Dad was a man who thrived on hard work and early mornings, he would always be out the door by five o’clock and on the road to London. He’d often say the man who gets up early will never be short of a few pounds. He said he loved the buzz of London and he could feel it in his bones. He loved his work and over time, he built up his own successful groundworks company. He was such a hardworking man and instilled this strong work ethic in us all.
Dad would be early anytime he was due somewhere, a reliable man in every way. He made lifelong friends through his work, that he kept in contact with until the very end. He was a great man for keeping in touch with people, maintaining friendships with so many people across England and Ireland.
In 2017, Dad and Mum moved back to Aughagower where Dad, who had worked six days a week his whole life, had to adjust to retirement. He soon found ways to keep busy. He set up a small garden field where he planted every type of vegetable and loved to be out working with a spade in his hands. He loved to watch nature documentaries and had a lifelong fascination with the natural world. He loved to read and knew so much about everything.
Prince the border collie became his pride and joy. He loved to take him out early every morning over the land and would enjoy meeting the neighbours for a chat. Dad loved dogs, especially border collies and was a gifted dog trainer. He trained Prince to become a brilliant sheepdog and trained up many other dogs in his time.
Dad loved sport and enjoyed watching darts, snooker and football on the television. He was a great storyteller and loved to share stories of Ireland long ago. He had a great sense of humour and enjoyed making us laugh with jokes and funny stories. He kept busy helping his brother John around the farm and was always ready to lend a hand to any member of the family or neighbour that was doing a bit of work on their house.
Dad lost his beloved wife Joyce, our Mum, in 2019 and it was a hard time for him. The family and community were a great support to him and in time he learnt to be happy again. Dad was a very decent man, he was the first to ring a friend who was unwell or to drop into them in the hospital and keep in touch. It was touching that when his hour of need came, that was repaid by those whose lives he had touched. He was a very generous man, who always had time, a cheeky smile and a kind word for anyone he met. He was a great father and as much as he worked hard to provide for us all, he always made time for his children.
When Dad was diagnosed with cancer it was an awful blow to us all, none more than him. But he battled through it the whole way with such determination, strength and quiet dignity, never once complaining. He was ready to smile, laugh and chat until the end. Our respect for him as a father and a man only grew in seeing how he conducted himself with such incredible grace through the most difficult of times.
As a family we would like to give special thanks to the wonderfully caring community, palliative care and night nurses who worked so diligently and respectfully to make Dad comfortable in his last months and weeks. The world could only be a better place with more people like these. We thank the whole community for their support, the mountains of food and practical help they have given. Special thanks to Dad’s brothers and their children and the rest of our family for everything they have done.
The biggest of thanks go to the man himself. Thank you, Dad, for being a true gentleman, a great neighbour and friend, a wonderful husband, father and grandfather. You taught us so much but most importantly to be generous, caring, kind, honest and hard working. You were truly one of life’s greats and we will miss you so much.
Although we are heartbroken, you are now at peace with your beloved wife Joyce. We will carry our special memories of you with us forever. We love you Dad.
Vincent was predeceased by his father Patrick, his mother Mai and his wife Joyce and will be sadly missed by his children Anne-Marie, Michael, Seán, James, Patrick and Vinny, brothers Paddy Joe and John, grandchildren Alana, Ollie, Poppy, Rory, Millie, Rosie, Evie, Alex and Cara, nieces, nephews, goddaughter Teresa, cousins, sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, son-in-law, daughters-in-law, extended family and wide circle of friends.