It is with regret that we record the death of the late Jimmy McKenna (Faravig) R.I.P.
who passed away peacefully at his home in Deravoy, Emyvale, in the early hours of
the morning of Friday, 5th November 2010. Although in failing health over the past
few years Jimmy's sudden passing came as a huge shock to his devoted wife Kitty,
close family members and many friends in the Truagh area.
In the preceding week Jimmy had attended Sunday Mass in his local chapel in Carrickroe,
participated in a family celebration in St Mellans Social Club and also enjoyed his
weekly game of cards with neighbours and friends. On the evening before he passed
away he enjoyed a drink with family and friends in The High House, Emyvale where
he often socialised and enjoyed reviewing the latest local and national news from
current affairs to sport and farming matters.
Jimmy who was in his 80th year was born in Ontario, Canada in 1930, first born child
of James and Annie McKenna (nee Clements) who had emigrated for a few years to find
work. They soon returned to Ireland and to their family homestead at Deravoy, Emyvale,
where Jimmy was to grow up on the family farm with his 4 brothers and 2 sisters -
Charlie, Peter, Eoin (R.I.P), Michael (R.I.P), Annie Rose (R.I.P.) and Mary ( R.I.P.)
In 1964 he married Kitty Treanor (Mickey John) from Clonkeen and together they where
blessed with 6 children - Mary, Annette, Seamus, Cathriona, Shane and Stephen. A
vibrant family life enriched Jimmy and Kitty's marriage and he celebrated the joy
of watching his children grow up, develop and achieve - at school, at sport and in
finding their own paths in life. It was a joy enhanced with the arrival of grandchildren
and a great- grandchild. The doors of the family home on Deravoy lane, Carrickroe,
were always open to the wider family circle, neighbours and friends, where the kettle
was always on the boil - for tea or punch! Jimmy hosted many family celebrations
and the highlight of the year was always his Christmas party, where he offered memorable
renditions of 'Noreen Ban' or 'The Old Mud Cabin on the Hill'.
Having an interest in people and places he loved to travel and the annual family
holiday to Donegal whet his appetite for further adventures. Football matches offered
him great opportunities to travel around Ireland and he eagerly supported Monaghan
and Tyrone or whatever Ulster county or club made it to Croke Park. He enjoyed travelling
to visit family members in England, USA and Italy, where he was always intrigued
by local cuisine and customs. In more recent years he delighted in the occasional
weekend away to Donegal with his wife, Kitty, and close friends, where he marvelled
at the many changes and improvements that had taken place since his first holidays
there in the 1970's.
Jimmy was a valued employee of Monaghan Co. Council - working in Glenmore Quarry
for many years before retiring to work at home on the family farm. An industrious
farmer - he enjoyed milking cows, saving the hay, cutting turf and supplying turkeys
to the local Christmas market - but all done at a pace that allowed ample time to
stay in close contact with family members and neighbours. His love of the outdoors
and country life developed into an enjoyment of hunting and breeding hounds. Lifelong
friendships were nurtured with many huntsmen in the Clara Hunt Club on the local
hills of Coolbern and Ivy Hill and also on many memorable exchanges with neighbouring
clubs from Drumfurrer, Clontibret and Rahaghey, Co Tyrone.
Gaelic Football was one of the loves of Jimmy's life and he was one of the founder
members of the Truagh Gaelic Football Club in the 1950's. He enjoyed the progress
of the club through the decades as they moved from Junior and Intermediate to compete
for honours in Senior ranks. As a club official he was deeply respected by the many
juvenile teams and players that he mentored, including his three sons Seamus, Shane
and Stephen, who each represented the club with distinction. He made a huge contribution
to fundraising and to the development of the new club playing fields and premises
at St Mellan’s Park. Involvement in the Truagh club also gave him an opportunity
to showcase his love of music and song and he will be remembered fondly for his organising
of ' The Border Musicians' and managing teams in the 'Back to Back' talent competitions
in Truagh and Aughnacloy. His contribution to the club and unbroken service over
50 years was recognised with Jimmy being elected as an Honorary Life President of
the Club in 2008 and he was presented with the Truagh 'Hall of Fame' Award in 2010.
Jimmy and Kitty also supported many other causes in the North Monaghan area and much
further afield. Where one was so was the other and social functions and fund-raising
events were sure to see both of them there. They never refused a ticket seller and
enjoyed the excitement of draws and were always happy irrespective of who would win
the prize. They were the picture of contentment, relaxation and peace as they listened
to music or chatted to friends and watched the world go by.
The esteem in which Jimmy was held was obvious from the large numbers of people that
visited his family home over the days of his wake. Many stories where recounted of
a life that was lived to the full and a legacy of rich traditions of singing, hunting
and football passed on to the next generation. His immense contribution to his local
G.A.A. club was evident at the removal of his remains to the Church of the Sacred
Heart, Carrickroe, on Sunday 7th November, where many past and present players and
officials of Truagh G.F.C. formed a Guard of Honour and had his coffin draped in
the club colours of red and black - of which Jimmy was so proud.
His Requiem Mass was con-celebrated by Rev. Fr. James Mealy, Birmingham - a friend
of the McKenna family, assisted by Rev. Fr. Sean Nolan PP. Errigal Truagh. In his
homily, Fr Mealy recalled some of the attributes of Jimmys life - his faith in God
and the living out of that faith in the love of his neighbours, his great love for
his family, his ability to make time for others, his generosity in giving his time
and talents to his community, his warm personality and his good company - always
at his best in the presence of others.
A reflection read at his funeral recalled how his life was rooted in his home and
the people who surrounded him:
" Central to Jimmys life was Deravoy lane where he walked to Master Eddie Treanor's
schoolhouse in Carrickroe, where he pitched pennies and kicked balls on long Summer
evenings. A lane full of family, neighbours and close friends whom he held dear. A
lane where the menfolk escaped from their farming chores to discuss the great matters
of the world around the twice daily ritual of taking out and collecting creamery
cans of milk, for Jimmy Briany's trailer. A lane where lifelong friendships where
built and helping hands exchanged with spuds, corn and hay. Where loads of turf where
welcomed home from Bragan Bog and where unusual brews warmed Christmas parties. A
lane where he truly belonged."
One of Jimmy's favourite party pieces - 'The Old Mud Cabin on the Hill' was sang
at his funeral and the poignant words where rich in meaning to his family and friends,
who had many cherished memories of the happy occasions which they enjoyed together:
" No More I'll dance the merry dance upon the cabin floor; To the music of the bagpipe
loud and shrill No more I''ll sing those merry songs, as I did in days of yore; In
that little old Mud Cabin on the Hill "
We extend our deepest sympathy to Jimmy's wife Kitty, to his immediate family: Mary
McKenna (Cavan town); Annette McKenna - Paganini ( USA), Seamus McKenna (Deravoy),
Cathriona Fitzsimons (Enfield, Co. Meath), Shane McKenna ( Deravoy), Stephen McKenna
(Barna, Co. Galway,); to his brothers Charlie (Deravoy) and Peter (Clontibret) and
to his wide circle of relations and friends in North Monaghan/ South Tyrone.
Jimmy Mc Kenna's Months Memory Mass will be offered in The Church of the Sacred Heart,
Carrickroe, this Saturday morning 4th December at 11:00 a.m. Ar dheis Dé go raibh
a anam dílis.