OBITUARY: Naas man, Tom Jones was a man who loved people and conversation

A member of one of the original Naas families

Paul O'Meara

Reporter:

Paul O'Meara

Email:

paul@leinsterleader.ie

OBITUARY: Tom Jones was a man who loved people and conversation

Tom Jones (extreme right), pictured with his wife Dolores, jockey Gary Halpin and their horse Beechmount Whisper

Tom Jones has been described as a man who embraced life every day and who loved his farm and his work.

He passed away on November 25 at the Beacon Hospital, Sandyford, Dublin, three days before his 66th birthday. He was very much a community person, who was always helpful and supportive to those around him.

Tom lived in Tipper, Naas. The only child of Thomas and Elizabeth (Swift), he attended St Corban’s boys primary school in Naas and later Naas CBS. He was from one of the original old Naas families, which can be traced back to the early 1800s.

Later he attended agricultural college and he spent his life working on the farm, tending to his animals and crops at Beechmount Farm, Tipper South. Like many boys of his era, he was an altar boy whose main duties were at the morning mass at Naas Hospital.

Tom would cycle to the ceremony, back home afterwards and then on to school in the town.

At that time there was a mass celebrated in the hospital every day.

He lived all his life in Naas and although his home place didn’t change much, he saw large scale residential development take place around him notably at Blessington Road, and Tipper.

On June 17, 1981, he married Dolores a native of Ballymote, County Sligo, who was a teacher of History, English and Irish at St Kevin's Community College, Dunlavin, and who took early retirement in 2006.

Tom had a love of animals and nature and his home place in many ways defined who he was. There were always donkeys, horses, dogs and sheep on his land and he took care of the birds, including the pheasants, making every effort to ensure that regulations surrounding the preservation of that species were observed.

Although he was a tillage farmer for a time, he was known mainly as a beef and sheep man.

He also bred horses — the most notable of these were Sikeeb, winner of the Dubai Duty Free Handicap at Newbury racecourse in 2011; Gypsie Queen, a two year old winner at Naas Racecourse and Beechmount Whisper, a winner at Leopardstown.

A keen fan of horseracing, Tom never missed a single day at the annual Punchestown Festival since he was a 12-year-old boy and also regular attended meetings at Naas and the Curragh.

Tom also had a great interest in local history, especially in researching his own family tree and the history of the long closed cemetery at Tipper.

He will be remembered by many living in the Naas area for his love of conversation and this was reflected in the numbers who visited his home in the aftermath of his death, as a result of cancer, and who attended his funeral.

For many years he was involved in helping to organise the Eadestown Field Day.

This is an annual event which will be 50 years old in 2018, a milestone Tom was looking forward to.

He served as chairman of the organising committee of the event which raises funds for the church in Eadestown and the Church of Ireland building in Rathmore, taking satisfaction from the enjoyment and community solidarity it created.

He was a big presence and was great company; a man who will be missed many of the people in Naas including Stevie O’Rourke, who worked with him on the farm.

He never complained about his illness as his condition deteriorated, which Dolores attributes to his strong mind.

“Tom had a childlike enthusiasm for all that he did, whether it was working, going to a race meeting, the mart sales or going out anywhere there were people. For him time spent talking was never time wasted.

Man of the soil

“He was a man of the soil who had a quiet heroism, dignity and independence,” said Dolores.

She added: “His love of animals was his trademark . He bore his illness lightly without complaining.

Tom simply got busy living; he was an eternal optimist, who made the world a better place.”

Tom's requiem mass was celebrated by Eadestown parish priest Fr Micheál Comer, assisted by Fr. Eugene Duffy CC, who married Dolores and Tom in Killaville in 1981.

His funeral took place to Eadestown Cemetery, following requiem mass at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Eadestown.

He is also survived by mother-in-law Bernadette, brothers-in-law Louis, Patsy, Donal and Thomas; sisters-in-law Camilla, Geraldine and Michele, nephews, nieces, cousins, relatives and a large circle of friends.