Immediate and extended members of the Geary family are in mourning this week following the death of James, better known as Jimmy Geary – a native of Doona, Milford in north Cork, but who spent most of his adult life in Garrynoe, Fermoy. 

Good with his hands and always keen to do the best job possible, Jimmy gravitated towards the motor trade where his early career was spent in the Cavanagh’s of Fermoy workshop in Castlehyde.

In time, he would link up with his fellow Milford natives, the McCarthys, who operated the Opel franchise in Fermoy. Ted McCarthy, who spent 40 years working with Jimmy, spoke to The Avondhu about the contribution his good friend, Jimmy, made to the company. 

“We’ve known each other all our lives and we had some great days at John McCarthy Motors in Fermoy. It was wonderful to see so many of his former colleagues, including Billy Tattan, in the guard of honour at his funeral. Jimmy is a huge loss to his family and his many friends.

Devoted family man

“With regard to his workmanship and his job as a panel beater, I have no hesitation in saying he was one of the best. I saw his work at first hand and it was always flawless. Speaking to the lads this week, we agreed that during his long career in the garage, there wasn’t a single complaint about his work, that’s saying something,” Ted said. 

A family man who was a devoted husband to Mary, he relished the traditional role as ‘bread winner’. Jimmy took immense pride in all his family and was always a source of sound advice and constant encouragement to Doreen, Michelle, Siobhan, Helen, Denise, Sinead, Trevor, Jonathan and Keith. In more recent years, this interest extended to his many grandchildren, who were understandably ‘mad about’ grandad. 

Some of his sporting friends this week recalled an epic journey to Croke Park in a Ford Prefect to see the 1962 All-Ireland football championship final between Kerry and Roscommon.

This game is noteworthy in two regards – it was the first televised final broadcast by RTE and also holds the record of producing the fastest goal in All-Ireland football final history – scored by Kerry after 35 seconds. A Mick O’Connell-inspired Kerry went on to win their 20th title.

According to those who knew him, Jimmy had ‘a fierce interest in Gaelic games’ but also followed a lot of other sports. He had family and friends in Shanballymore and frequently linked up with members of the Sheedy family to follow hounds on foot.  

Hard to say no

Being a mechanic of some repute, Jimmy was invariably called on, often at short notice, to ‘get someone out of trouble’. Often after a very busy day at John McCarthy’s and with plenty to do himself, he dropped everything to sort out a problem. His interest in cars was to remain lifelong and he was a familiar sight at vintage shows throughout The Avondhu region and beyond.

Understandably, he had a fondness for the old classic cars that got generations of people from A to B – minus surround sound stereos, airbags, anti-lock braking, air conditioning and God forbid, even seat belts.

Funerals are difficult at the best of times, however, in the current restrictive climate, they are especially challenging. True to form, Castlelyons native James Ronayne and his ever-conscientious staff, did an ultra-professional job.

Along with the guard of honour mentioned by Ted, scores of people lined the funeral route to pay their last respects to a proud north Cork man, a devoted family man and a hardworking individual, who never compromised when it came to doing the best possible job he could. 

Jimmy was laid to rest in Kilcrumper New Cemetery on Monday. We extend sympathy to his family and friends during this difficult time.