Wexford says goodbye to 'son of South Main Street'
Published 11/08/2015 | 00:00
The town said goodbye to a 'true gentleman and character' of Wexford as well known businessman Colman Doyle was laid to rest in Barntown Cemetery, where his parents are buried, following his Requiem Mass at Bride Street Church last Wednesday.
Colman, one of Wexford's best known and most prominent businessmen, passed away on Monday, August 3, at the age of 70.
'He lived in the shadow of the spire of the church all his life, was baptised here, confirmed here and his funeral mass is here",' said Fr. Paddy Cushen, during Colman's well-attended funeral mass, in which he was assisted by Fr. Aodhan Marken, who represented the Parish and Wexford CBS.
Fr. Paddy said he had built up a strong friendship with Colman, one that lasted for 44 years.
He described Colman as one of Wexford town's characters, a kind, generous and loyal man.
'Colman,' he said, 'had built up the family business over the years and contributed greatly to South Main Street'.
Fr. Paddy said 'Colman loved sailing, antiques and old cars.. Colman said he didn't have a passport, a television or a decent car and got his news from BBC Radio 4, but always denied suggestions that he was a caveman'.
During a humorous eulogy, Victor Bridges, a long time friend of Colman's, commented on the banter between Colman and Frank Sinnott about Colman's jumper. Victor said: 'Frank got it wrong, Colman actually had seven of the same jumpers, one for each day of the week'.
The son of Stephen and Bridget Doyle, Colman was born in 1944 and was a true son of South Main Street, spending most of his life living and working there. Educated at the CBS in Wexford, Colman began his working life with An Bord Iascaigh Mhara, however, retail was his passion and he undertook retail training with Lenihans, in Capel Street, Dublin. In 1968, Colman took over the family business which had been established by his father in 1917.
He developed the existing hardware business and added several more retail units, selling everything from beds to wallpaper. While dedicated to the development of South Main Street, he had a keen interest in the town's history, the voluntary handover of his Bride Street development for the archeaological dig a tangible sign of this.
A forward thinker, he also purchased and renovated the old Capital Cinema at the end of South Main Street and soon became 'the complete home furnisher' for Wexford. He had many interests including sailing and cycling and was once a member of the Fife and Drum Band. He was in his element when debating local and national issues with his numerous friends. His good friend Seamus Cullimore said Colman was a champion of South Main Street at a time when developments were taking place elsewhere in the town.
'He was a good businessman and good neighbour to everyone for 40 years,' he said.
Among tributes to him on social media, Cllr Fergie Kehoe said he had had the pleasure of being in Colman's company over the years,
'To spend many a day discussing the rights and wrongs of Wexford, local and national politics, his sailing days, but above all his dedication to business improvements for all on South Main Street. Wexford will never see another like him.'
Fergie described Colman as a gentleman and 'a charming character who had a word for all, so knowledgeable about life and a true friend who will be remembered by all'. Former Mayor Cllr George Lawlor said Colman had a great sense of humour and fun and always had time for a chat about how the 'town was being destroyed'. 'He was also very generous to those less fortunate amongst us and this was done without fanfare.'
Ger Lawlor said Colman was a household name and a true Wexford native.
'I always remember his reply if some obscure item of hardware was out of stock: "I'll have it on Monday",' said Ger, who posted an illuminating set of pictures of Colman and Frank Sinnott on his Facebook page.
A true Wexfordian, Colman is survived by his sister Colette, work colleagues and friends.
He will be sorely missed and never forgotten.