There are no words to express the sadness that Jimmy Murray’s untimely death has caused his beloved wife Elsie, his children Thomas, Lisa and her fiancé Ian, Jimmy’s brother Michael, nephews Reuben and Karl, his uncle Paddy, his brothers and sisters-in-law, cousins, neighbours and friends. Elsie was the love of Jimmy’s life. Thomas and Lisa were his rocks and he theirs. It was that simple.
Jimmy and I were the best of friends. He excelled in being present if there was anything wrong. We were both grappling with health issues. He was having surgery; I was having treatment. We tried to support each other and keep our spirits up. We talked about reality, too. Jimmy knew he was slipping. He waited patiently for his luck to turn so he could concentrate on recovery. His family and friends surrounded him with love and support. He was never a day without a visitor; a boast he loved! Jimmy had gone into hospital to have major surgery that would deliver him back to full health. Tim and I visited him before I started treatment. I couldn’t visit anymore; the infection risk was too high. Jimmy’s health deteriorated. After a harrowing four months of stoic endurance, his family made arrangements to bring Jimmy home. The cattle were brought down to the field outside the house where Jimmy could see them. I could visit Jimmy at home.
Tim drove. I slept through three hours to Roscommon. I didn’t say goodbye. Yet, we both knew we’d never see each other again. I walked out while Tim and Jimmy spent a few poignant moments together. Jimmy died the next day. It was surreal.
A few days later, we gathered in Jimmy’s home to say our final goodbyes. Seeing his family broken in grief, his shocked friends, his stunned neighbours and cousins and so many IFA families - we couldn’t make sense of it. The Community of Rahara, the ladies’ committee, the IFA and GAA looked after all who came to sympathise with his family. Over the days, the Parish Priest Fr Milton welcomed us all. Ceremonies were poignant. Tom Parlon, Jimmy’s great friend, delivered an emotional tribute to Jimmy at his graveside.
Where it started
We all met through the IFA. Jimmy Murray appeared anywhere he could make a difference. He served on the school board of management and parish council. He was steeped in Rahara community life.
Jimmy was only 13 when his Dad died. He had to step up and be the farmer. Being outgoing, he got involved in Rahara IFA. He became Roscommon chairman in 1991 - at that time, the youngest ever county chairman! In January 1992, a fire in United Meat Packers in Ballaghaderreen destroyed the plant. Jimmy made sure farmers had an alternative competitive outlet for their cattle. He served on the National Council of the IFA from 1998 to 2004. Tim was also on council, and the two men became firm friends. In 1998, 40,000 farmers on low incomes marched across Dublin City to Leinster House. Then, there was the famous beef blockade of January 2000. Jimmy was deeply involved. We have so many memories of that time.
Jimmy loved buying and selling cattle. He had an eye for a good animal! He served on the board of Roscommon Mart, becoming its chairman from 2014 - 2017. He was a successful businessman both at his farming enterprises and with his agri sales company of 30 years. He provided power washers and follow up services to farmers and industry countrywide, stocking all the major brands.
Once Jimmy was your friend, he was loyal, respectful, kind and funny! His wit was quick and his turn of phrase dynamite. As friends, we loved being in Jimmy’s company. Jimmy enjoyed the sport of racing. Cheltenham was an annual event where he gathered with another special group of friends.
A month on
We returned to Rahara for Jimmy’s Month’s Mind. Things were a little less raw. We stood around Jimmy’s grave with Elsie, remembering things Jimmy said. He made us laugh often and we laughed reminiscing!
I am conscious that as Jimmy’s friend, I write selfishly because I miss his encouragement, his honest and loyal friendship and his absolutely genuine wish for me to get well when he knew he had failed to get well himself. RIP our friend, Jimmy Murray, Ganaveens, Roscommon. My sincerest sympathy to Elsie, Thomas and Lisa on the loss of such a lovely husband and father.
Ní bheidh a leithéid ann arís.