The death of John McKevitt, ‘Salley Gardens’, River Lane, Carlingford, on Wednesday November 22 in the Beacon Hospital, Dublin has been greeted with widespread sadness in north Louth and further afield.
The retired primary school teacher, who died on his 70th birthday after a short illness, was highly regarded in the local community where he had played a role in many clubs and organisations.
A native of Carlingford, John had attended the CBS in Dundalk before going to Manchester for teaching training. On his return home, he taught in the Friary and St Oliver’s Carlingford, where he served as principal. A keen sportsman, he played rugby with Dundalk, gaelic football with the Cooley Kickhams, introduced cricket to Carlingford and was a founder member of the Carlingford Knights, and took up sailing on his retirement, serving as Commodore of the Sailing Club.
He met his wife Teresa, a teacher from Cork, who died earlier this year at a Rugby Club Dance 43 years ago, and they made their home in Carlingford, where they raised their family. He shared her interest in amateur drama and was a member of the Carlingford Players and also president of Cór Chairlainn.
Dundalk Rugby Club recalled how he joined the in the mid 1970’s after picking up the game of rugby while at college in Manchester with his great friend Tom Reilly.
He was a member of the 1987 Provincial Towns Cup winning Dundalk team, and also represented Leinster for a number of years, and served as club captain (1980-81), coach (mini’s, youth and senior), supporter, committee member and most recently Club President (2019-2022).
“John McKevitt’s contribution to Dundalk RFC was immense, and impossible to capture fully in words. His legacy and place in the history of our club is assured. And, this was all done without fuss, with modesty and selflessness. He embodied everything that is good about our game. He was just a good person.”
Cooley Kickhams also extended their deepest condolences to John’s family and friends, saying he “will be sadly missed in his community and beyond.”
“John was a multi championship medal winner with our Club starting with minor in 1971 and winning a senior in 1978.
“He had a big influence in the GAA in the Carlingford area at juvenile level especially during Cumanm Peile Cuchullan where he encouraged young people to come out to play for Cooley Kickhams.
Senator John McGahon said John was” truly one of a kind. He was an institution in Carlingford and the wider North Louth community” and will be “so sadly missed by all of us who had the pleasure to call him a friend.”
Mourners at his funeral in St Michael’s Church, Carlingford on Saturday morning heard that John was “a friend, a parishioners, a household name throughout Carlingford and further afield.”
Fr Rev. Christy McElwee told the congregation that John was “a man of strong faith and religion” who had served the parish.
John’s son Michael John thanked all those who had cared for his father and supported the family over the last eight weeks.
He said that anyone who had spoken to his father knew how bravely he had accepted his fate and had penned his own farewell.
“I love Carlingford and more importantly, the community,” John had written. He remembered a childhood playing cowboys and Indians, and street football with his neighbours in the terrace.
He had developed his grá for the Irish language at the CBS.
He recalled his pride at being involved on the Foy Centre Committee, the Carlingford Players, and Cor Carlinne and shared his delight that the Carlingford Pipe Band was going so strong.
He had loved playing rugby and Gaelic with the Cooley Kickhams and had enjoyed sailing after his retirement, and had particularly fond memories of the long sails home from the Azores and Isle of Man aboard Shenanigan, which he had bought with his friends Paddy Bell and Sean Rice.
Most of all, John had paid tribute to his wife Teresa, the love of his life, who was “so easy going and exceptional at everything she put her hand to. She had a beautiful vibrant energy and was always in good form.”
He was “truly blessed” in his family, brothers and sisters and, addressing his grandchildren, said “life is in your hands now – lean ar aghaidh.”
John was predeceased by his wife Teresa eight months ago and is survived by his children Michael John, Bob and Sally. Also by his daughter-in-law Deirdre, son-in-law Shaun, grandchildren Lottie, Darragh, and Luke, sisters Mary, Sally, Aideen and Christine, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nephews, nieces, relatives and friends.
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