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John Vincent McAree R.I.P.

John Vincent McAree, Terrytole, Bellanode, Monaghan, passed away peacefully at his residence, surrounded by his family, on Tuesday, March 9th 2010. Vincie was a well known and very popular character and personality in the North Monaghan area and was known far and wide. He was highly regarded by everyone who knew him and he was recognised as an expert on machinery and the workings of engines. In his 89th year he had been in failing health for some months but he deteriorated more rapidly in the last two  months. Some years ago he was seriously ill and his prognosis for a recovery was limited. However Vincie recovered and was back to his old self before very long. This time that was not to be and he finally succumbed to his illness on Tuesday evening. It was comforting for the family to be present when he slipped away to his eternal reward. From then until the removal of his remains there was a constant queue of visitors calling to the house to pay their respects and to offer their condolences to the family. On Thursday afternoon his remains were brought to St. Mary’s Church,Urbleshanny, for 2pm Requiem Mass and burial service. There they were received by Fr. Sean Clerkin, who was the chief celebrant for the Mass assisted by Fr. Tom Finnegan, Magheracloone.

Members of the family participated in all aspects of the Liturgy and music and hymns were rendered by a friend of the family. A poignant message was read out at the end of Mass from one of his grandchildren, who is in Australia and was the only one who could not be present for the funeral. There was a huge crowd present to hear Fr. Clerkin speak of the great talent and wide variety of interests. He was always looking for something new and he had great inniative. He was very handy and loved working with engines. He was an excellent musician and gathered together one of the largest collections of stationary engines in Ireland. After the Pope visited Ireland in 1979 Vincent bought the wooden platform which was used for the Pope in Knock. He took it home and created wooden Crosses from the timber. These were about two feet in height and there is now one of these to be found in every continent in the world.

As a young man Vincent trained as a mechanic in Givens Garage in Monaghan. He then began a garage of his own in Ballinode and this expanded rapidly and about 45 years ago he established the McAree Engineering works. This was built up by his hard work, long hours and his talent. He handed it over the the boys about 25 years ago and they have continued to make it a successful business.

He was also very involved with community and started many organisations and was involved in anything that would benefit the community. He set up a Camogie Club, organised Dancing Classes in the local Ballinode Hall, played music and was a member of a band, he began go-kart racing and competed all over the country. He was regarded as the oldest racer in Ireland. It was only natural that with his interest and knowledge of engines and his love of the stationary engine he would get involved with and help develop the Monaghan Veteran and Vintage Club. Members of the club, of which he has been Honorary President, held a Guard-of-Honour outside the Church. He loved Rally Days and would chat all day with like-minded individuals and compare ideas and share knowledge.

As Fr. Clerkin stated that all the while he was involved in these things Vincent remained a true Christian and devoted Catholic and demonstrated to the world that it is possible to be a fully committed Christian with time honoured standards and still live life to the full. You can enjoy yourself with out having to go around with a solemn face. He had a great faith and St. Martin de Porres was his favourite saint. He was a loving husband and loving father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He was always there for them and was easy to talk to. They will have many happy memories of him but will miss him dearly.

In 1946 Vincent married Tessie, nee Fields from Emyvale, and they had  six children - Gina, Adelaide, Martina, Bernie, Gerard and Brendan and they celebrated their 63rd Wedding Anniversary in August 2009. To Tessie and his sons and daughters, to his in-laws, to his grand-children and great-grandchildren, to his nephew and niece, to his many relatives and friends we offer our deepest sympathy.

On a personal note - I spent many times in Vincent’s company and enjoyed listening to his stories and he would always make one feel good by his genuine interest in you rather than himself. From an early age I used hear my own father talk about Vincie McAree and the gentleman he was - that is the impression I had of Vincie and that is how I will always remember him - as his grandchild said in her message - ‘he was a gentle man and a gentleman’.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam naofa.

The late Vincent pictured among his many many artefacts on one of the Museum Open Days.