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In memory of Frank O'Dowd

In memory of Frank O'Dowd

1925 - 2021

Frank 1


Funeral Mass celebrated by Very Reverend Canon Powell in St. Colman's Clare.

Frank was born on 13th September 1925 in Ballydougan to Joseph and Dinah Dowds and he was the youngest in a family of 7; 6 boys and one girl with the oldest boy dying as an infant. The surname was later changed to O’Dowd at the ‘suggestion’ to the local priest!

Frank grew up on a small farm and attended Ballydougan School (where his mother was caretaker) until he was 14. He had a number of local jobs, mainly farm labouring. He remembered being in Gilford Chapel when Father Brown announced that World War two had been declared. During the 3 war years, he worked for a time in Greyabbey at the local quarry. In 1944, he worked with his brother Joe on the railway lines and then later he started a local milk delivery service with his brother Barney – their mode of transport was 2 bicycles!

Frank first met his wife, Jean McCusker, when she was sitting on the wall at Blane’s factory with her two sister and brother Sean. They arranged to meet at the ceili in Ballydougan Hall the following Sunday for their first date. Four years later in 1949 they went to Dublin by train and became engaged and were married on 21st August 1950 in St. John’s Church, Gilford.

Following their marriage, the home place, where Frank was born, was divided into two halves – one half for his mother Dinah, his brother Pat and sister Agnes – the other half for Jean and Frank. Frank was now a full-time farmer.

Frank and Jean went on to have 8 children, Vivian, Gregory, Siobhan, Diane, Niall, Eugene, Sean and Conleth, 27 grandchildren and 40 great grandchildren.

In 1971, Frank began building a new family home on the site of the original family home which goes back 200 years. In 1975, they welcomed their first grandchild and today there are 27 grandchildren and 30 great grandchildren! In the 1990s, they moved into a retirement bungalow and after the sudden death of Jean in 1999, Frank continued to live there, baking his own bread, making his own jam and growing his own vegetables. Every Spring, Frank placed snowdrops from his garden on Jean’s grave here in the Clare. Frank and Jean were not only husband and wife, but best friends too – totally devoted to each other.

Anyone who knew Frank would agree that his enduring faith, and indeed his tenacious attitude to life helped him deal with many adversities throughout the years. Following the death of his brother Joe, his 2 nephews Barry and Declan and the serious injuries to his brother Barney on the same night, Frank’s steadying influence among the family came to the fore. Indeed, Frank was always on hand in the local community in a supportive way when other local tragedies occurred in the following years. He sadly lost his oldest daughter Siobhan earlier this year and was comforted by the fact he could join in her funeral in Dublin by webcam.

Frank was a member of Gilford and Laurencetown bowling clubs where his obvious skill was recognised. He enjoyed the bowling and the banter, and the bowling club was an enormous support to him following Jean’s death.

He was blessed with a superb memory, recently recalling wining first prize of Cadbury’s chocolate in a mental arithmetic contest in primary school. Frank was the ‘go-to’ person in the parish for information on family history – not only in the parish but from people in America and Canada also.

Frank was an intensely private man – a man of a simple but devout faith. He loved nothing more than coming to Mass here in the Clare and meeting his community of friends and neighbours. He was a man who always wished you well – never complaining or being negative about anything or anyone.

He did not like fuss and certainly did not like being the centre of attention. He would be horrified to think anything was being said about him today and was adamant that there was to be no fuss of any kind at his funeral. He was blessed to keep his independence until the end of last year when he moved ‘home’ again to Sean and Marie. He had a wonderful relationship with Marie who looked after Frank in any way he ‘allowed’ her to for the past 16 years. He spent the last week of his life in Newry Hospice where, after praying constantly for days, he had the most beautiful and peaceful death. How fitting it was that he returned to his heavenly home from the place he was born in 95 years ago.

Frank ODowd Funeral leaflet

Entrance Hymn: The Deer's Cry

Prayer of the Faithful         

    Priest: Let us pray to God, to whom each of us is important and precious, because we are his sons and daughters.

Response:     Lord, graciously hear us.

We thank you, Lord, for the gift of Frank in our lives. May Vivian, Gregory, Diane, Niall, Eugene, Sean, Conleth and his brother Barney know your support and comfort in their loss, secure in the knowledge that Frank is with you, Lord, and at peace.          Lord, hear us. Lord, graciously hear us.

We thank you for the dedicated people who cared for Frank in his latter years: the doctors and staff of William Street Surgery, Lurgan, Craigavon Area Hospital, Southern Area
Hospice, the district nurses, the home-care team and all those dedicated people who touched Frank’s life in such a tender and special way. Bless all those who care for life at its weakest  moments.  Lord, hear us. Lord, graciously hear us.

We remember all who took care of Frank’s spiritual welfare over the years, especially Canon Powell and Sr. Fiona Galligan. We pray they remain true to their vocation of caring for the sick and vulnerable, as Christ did. Lord, hear us . Lord, graciously hear us.

We pray for our departed relatives and friends. We remember in a special way, Frank’s wife Jean and his daughter Siobhan; his parents Joseph and Dinah; his siblings Joseph, Agnes, Pat, Vincent and his infant brother Bernard. May they and all who have died in the peace of Christ be reunited with Frank, surrounded by your everlasting love.
Lord, hear us. Lord, graciously hear us.

We now have an opportunity to make our own prayer (pause).
Lord, hear us. Lord, graciously hear us.

Priest: Lord, may you support us all day long, till the shadows lengthen and evening falls, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over, and our work is done; then in your mercy, Lord, grant us a safe lodging, a holy rest, and peace at last. We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen


Offertory Hymn: Instrumental

Communion Hymn:   Soul of my Saviour

Recessional Hymn:     Lady of Knock


In your hands, O Lord,

we humbly entrust our brothers and sisters.

In this life you embraced them
with your tender love;

Deliver them now from every evil

and bid them eternal rest.

The old order has passed away:

welcome them into paradise,

where there will be no sorrow,
no weeping or pain,

but fullness of peace and joy

with your Son and the Holy Spirit

forever and ever.





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