Wednesday 20 November 2019

Builder Jim was a great GAA man

The late Jim Ferguson
The late Jim Ferguson

JIM FERGUSON, who died on May 31, was one of County Wexford's great builders and a great GAA man who was a selector for Wexford minor teams in the 1980s.

Late of Kilderry, Ballymitty, Jim is survived by his loving wife Monica, close family, relatives and large circle of friends.

Jim was born and reared in Whittyshill and went on to train as a carpenter. The Ferguson name in the building industry was known from near and far. The names of John Ferguson and his sons Sean and Jim are synonymous with the construction of beautiful churches and schools across the county and in neighbouring counties.

Jim met Monica Dempsey in the early 1960s when she was working as a primary school teacher in Kilmuckridge where the Ferguson builders were renovating the church.

Monica regularly visited the church to light candles and she got to know Jim. Monica moved teaching post from Kilmuckridge and went to live in Wellingtonbridge for some time and the happy couple were married in 1964.

Over the years Jim was involved in numerous construction projects including the building of: Barntown National School, Ballymitty National School, Monamolin National School, St Mary's Youth Centre New Ross, Little Cullenstown Church, Hardob Ltd - Whitemill Wexford (a German clothes factory), Clonard Church, Poulfur Church, the Gaelic Bar, Wexford, Castlebridge National School, Riverchapel National school, among others.

He was also involved in building schools in County Kilkenny and County Waterford.

Jim's involvement in the GAA started as a player in Wexford and Kilkenny and due to his work commitments he played for a number of different clubs including playing minor football for Horeswood in 1949 as he was working in the area. His devotion to his club as a committee member, club development involvement, fund raiser and selector was enormous.

At his funeral Mass at St Peter & Paul's Church, Ballymitty, Jim's nephew Dermot Howlin spoke of his huge contribution to GAA in the county.

He said: 'To this day Jim was extremely active in selling club lotto tickets and county development draw tickets. I'm sure there are many in the church today from inside and outside the parish that had a ticket of some sort put in front of them and there was only going to be one result you would be buying that ticket!'

Jim spent many years involved with club teams. His teams achieved remarkable success in the early 1980s when the minor football teams which joined with Taghmon/Camross that Jim managed remained unbeaten for almost three years in the Jim Byrne Cup.

Jim had much involvement as a selector with county teams and in particular with county minor football teams in the early 1980s.

'Jim's contribution to GAA at county level can never be overstated. I've had the privilege of serving as a county officer with Jim and his commitment to every role was unbelievable. Jim often said to me, if we are going to do something, we'll do it right.'

Some of Jim's roles at county level included; Jim Byrne Cup committee member where he was the current Vice Chairman (with Monica as current Treasurer).

Jim represented his county at many GAA Leinster conventions and congresses. Jim fell ill in May and received wonderful care at Wexford General Hospital. He passed away peacefully on May 31 aged 85. A large crowd of Jim's friends from Wexford GAA attended his funeral where Bannow Ballymitty GAA club members stood as guards of honour. He was laid to rest afterwards in the adjoining cemetery.

May his gentle soul rest in peace.

Wexford People