Tuesday 17 September 2019

Hard-worker Ned Roice had a real passion for Gaelic games

THE RECENT death of popular and highly respected Wexford man Edward (Ned) Roice of 9 Thomas Street has brought heart break and sadness to his family and friends.

Ned, aged 93, died suddenly on Friday, 15 June, at his home.

A native of Wexford, Ned was born in 1919 and raised on Hill Street. He was the only child of James (Barney) Roice and Elizabeth McGrath. His father died when he was aged four.

He met his beloved wife Johanna, or 'Jo' as he called her, in the late 1930s and were married in 1945.

In the following years they had four children; James (Jim), Aileen, Siobhan and Elizabeth. His beloved Siobhan was killed in the Dublin - Monaghan Bombings of 1974. His family recall the devastating effect which her death had on Ned. His family recall the way in which he shouldered this tragic loss by immersing himself in consoling his heartbroken wife Jo and family.

At the time of her tragic death, Ned had just returned from working in England and was looking forward to living his latter years in peace and harmony but sadly that was not to be as just seven weeks after his return Siobhan was killed in the bombings.

Ned worked hard all of his life both at home and abroad. He began his working life in the L & N grocery store and enjoyed telling anecdotes about his time there. From there he went on to join Royal Liver Insurance Company before he went to work in Sheehan's of Arklow. He also spent sometime working abroad throughout his life both in England and America. He had a wide and varied career, working for a pharmaceutical firm in England and at the American Air Force Base before eventually returning to Wexford to work in ABS pumps.

Work aside, Ned was a keen GAA man. From an early age, the GAA was his world. He was immersed in the whole ethos of the game starting with his father Barney who played during the Golden years of 19131918. His uncle Tom McGrath was also apart of this team. His family involvement in the county football scene meant that he was steeped in knowledge of the game. His knowledge and memory of the game, its players and memorable occasions was unbelievable. His family can recall his tales of training with the Volunteers at the Wygram Green, with floodlights that were 45 gallon drums filled with tar which provided light.

A constant bone of contention within the family was his son Jim's decision to join the Sarsfields as Ned was a ' Vols' man through and through. However, this didn't prevent him from encouraging his family in their learning of the game and its rules. He took great pride from the fact that both he and his son Jim had both played in All Ireland Finals at senior and minor level hurling and football.

As the years rolled by, his grandchildren appeared to give him a new lease of life. He adored his grandchildren and great-grandchildren and one of his favourite past-times was to take a walk up Whiterock Hill or out to Drinagh with them. The children in the family cherish these memories of their 'walks with Grandad' and the mixed bags of sweets which he would buy them every Sunday.

Another favourite hobby of his was gardening. His children joked that they would almost be afraid to leave him alone in their garden because on their return what was once a 4 foot hedge would more than likely have fallen victim to his pruning and now ' look far better' according to Ned at a more modest 2 foot height!

He is survived by his wife Johanna (Jo), son Jim, daughters; Aileen, and Elizabeth along with his many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

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