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In memory of Sean McCusker

8th September 2011


 Funeral Homily for Sean McCusker 1941 – 2011   (Very Reverend Gerry Powell P.P.)

When such a man as Sean dies, our community is all the poorer. We no longer have his good example, we no longer experience his kindness, his gentleness, his concern.

Sadly just a few months ago Sean’s life was to take a different direction. God has given Sean a shorter number of years. He used these years to bring life into the world. The basic value of this life is that the life and death of each one of us has its influence on others. In his leaving there is a lesson. Perhaps we can all see more clearly how much more he meant to us.

Sean was married to his Marie for 41 years. They met when Marie was 18 and he was 24.

He was a loving father to Grainne, Patrick and Catherine and devoted to his grandchildren.

Sean was the youngest of 6 children and is survived by his eldest sister, Lily.

He had a great sense of humour and was a great conversationalist. He worked as a barman while he trained in haematology and then joined the Blood Transfusion Service in Belfast for over 30 years where he enjoyed the craic and some tall tales. He made some great friends who he met regularly for dinner until very recently.

On his retirement from the Blood Transfusion Service, he was delighted not to have to drive to Belfast daily, but soon missed the criac and within a year had started a new business venture based on one of his great interests – cars. Along with his nephew Paul Moore, Sean was in involved in Craigavon Autoparts for 7 years before he realised he had retired from a 5 day week career only to spend 6 days working on his hobby and he then retired for the second time.

His hobbies and interests were varied and included photography, vintage cars and bikes and flying. He had always loved flying and often accompanied friends in the cockpit but he was never more proud than when his son Patrick achieved his pilot’s licence. He loved spending weekends flying with Patrick, taking pictures and enjoying the banter at regular ‘Fly In’ socials.

True to his nature, retirement for the second time didn’t suit Sean and he took a part time job as a driver for Mercedes in Portadown. He loved to tell you about the top of the range cars he’d been driving that day and meeting lots of new people. He continued driving until recent months when he began to feel unwell.

He was also a keen member of Banbridge Camera Club and loved taking pictures of his grandchildren who brought him great joy and lots of laughter. He loved Emma, Amy, Brid and Erin dearly.

He was so proud of all his children in their achievements and adored his wife Marie.

He loved travelling and the family spent many summers in France, enjoyed caravan holidays in Fermanagh and around the South of Ireland and recently he bought an apartment in Spain where he and Marie enjoyed dining out regularly. He loved a few glasses of good, red wine. He also enjoyed the trips organised through his work in the lab where he went to various locations across the country and as far as the U.S.A.

Always industrious, he took great pride in maintaining the family home and land inherited from his father. Spending evenings and weekends hedge cutting, strimming and baling in the summer months.

He adored his siblings and their partners, boating about them and their families. He took a keen interest in all the varied occupations of his nieces and nephews, the Moores, O’Dowds, Gaffneys and McCuskers, being more like the wise big brother than an uncle.

Above all we are remembering a good man with a wide circle of friends from all sections of the community. Today as we gather in sorrow to remember Sean, a burden of pain, a burden of loss, a burden of grief weighs heavily on us all. We gather as a community - our presence here today is our way of reaching out to those whose burden is heaviest and whose loss is greatest.

Today we shed tears for Sean but our tears have a healing effect. Today we no longer cling on but let him go to be with the Lord forever.

I know it’s hard to understand why Sean had to die. As with the life of Our Lord there will always be the feeling that there was so much more Sean could have done, so much more that life had to offer him, so much more that he would have liked to do, if only circumstances had been kinder. It was not to be.

But if we are sad today, there is also much to be thankful for. We are grateful for the life he did have, grateful for all the joy he brought into our lives. For you Marie and his loving family there’s the comfort of knowing that you were able to show Sean how much you all loved him and appreciated him.
It was Sean’s personality, his warm-hearted character that drew such a deep and open response from those who knew him. Sean was loved by all. He was a generous and caring person; he was a loving husband and father and grandfather, so attentive to you all.  He will be sadly missed by all of us.

You can remember him and only that he’s gone or you can cherish his memory and let it live on. You can try and close your mind, be empty and turn your back, or you can do what Sean would want; smile, open your eyes, love and move on. May his noble soul be at God’s right hand.

In our sadness and grief, in the midst of things we cannot understand or explain, let us commit Sean and ourselves to God's never failing love and care, knowing that he will give us strength and courage to face the days ahead, just as he gives Sean new life in his heavenly kingdom. Amen.

I would like to extend our heartfelt sympathy to Sean’s loving wife Marie, daughters Grainne, and Catherine, son Patrick, grandchildren, sister Lily, son in law, brothers in law, sister in law, Frank O’Dowd, nephews and nieces and the entire family circle.




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