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In memory of Terry McCullagh

In memory of Terry McCullaugh.

1959 - 12th December 2022

Celebrant: Fr. Des Loughran

St. Colman's Clare

Being here today was not in anyone’s diary or plans. The shock of Terry death will live with us for a long time to come.

Terry was a loving and devoted husband, father, grandfather, son, father-in-law, brother, brother-in-law, colleague and friend.

He was born on the 18th of October 1959 to Lilly and Dessie Mc Cullaugh, the first son of five children.

Today we are honouring, celebrating, and remembering Terry. A quiet gentle man, who didn’t like to be the centre of attention but made a lasting impression on those who knew him.

Terry’s vocation in life was as a primary-school teacher and vice principal. Roles that he fulfilled with dedication and true diligence. ‘The Master’ or ‘Sir’ as he was affectionally known, touched the lives of so many children. He cared deeply about every single child in his care and worked tirelessly to give them the best possible start in life.

We have heard countless times, even now, four years since his retirement his past pupils still regard him as ‘their favourite teacher’ or ‘the best teacher ever’. We recall how the whole school community were shocked when Terry's retirement was announced, especially as people often quipped that he hadn't one grey hair.

He had a great love for GAA and found immense enjoyment in being able to participate in the school tournaments. It was even remarked lately that he was ahead of his time in encouraging the girls to participate in the sport.  

Terry met his soulmate Mairead in 1981 and they married in 1985 in St John’s chapel, Lylo. Colleen was born a year later, followed by Conor in 1988. After each birth Mairead returned to her job as a nurse and together they combined their work and life rotas to raise their two children. Terry was extremely proud of his children and all of their achievements. Colleen followed in her father’s footsteps into teaching while Conor specialises in I.T.

Terry was every inch the family man. Both his and Mairead’s retirement coincided with the arrival of their first granddaughter, Erin in 2018. This was followed by the arrival of Fiadh at the start of covid in April 2020. Terry and Mairead took on the roles of looking after the children when Colleen returned to work.

Terry never really retired, instead he became a ‘professional granda.’ He spent hours putting his teaching skills to good use with the children and Erin often says, ‘grandad is the best at playing’. The children brought a new focus and energy to his life and he loved them dearly.

After his family, Terry had many other great loves in his life. He loved to travel with Mairead and they were always planning their next trip to look forward to. He was a massive football fan and Leeds United supporter who never missed watching a match. He had already planned his Sunday night viewing watching the final of the world cup.

Terry was an avid fly fisherman; an interest he shared with Conor. He also made an annual trip to Killarney to fish with his childhood and life-long friend Michael

He was a keen gardener and someone who could turn his hand to anything from woodwork to painting and decorating, traits he inherited from his father Dessie. As Mairead commented, he never had the super glue out of his hand and ‘granda will fix it’ was a phrase commonly used by his grandchildren.

He made many wooden toys for the children, presenting them with a dolls house, a stable, and a farm. His current project was making a tree house for them in the garden.

Terry was a perfectionist and methodical thinker in everything that he did. No trades man ever got a turn when Terry could just do it himself. Mairead joked that she had never fully retired from nursing either as she was always patching him up.

It's clear to see that Terry was much loved by his family and friends and will be greatly missed and fondly remembered. This time of year, the robin arriving in the garden will always remind us of Terry.

Joan Aldridge Terry’s principal in Derrytrasna.

In September 1988 he took up a teaching post in St Mary’s, Derrytrasna and later went on to become Vice Principal. For the next 30 years, The Master, as he was affectionally known, worked tirelessly for the families in that community. He epitomized all that is good in a teacher with an abundance of care, endless patience, great learning and the ability to instil self- belief in two generations of children in Derrytrasna.

The children’s learning was enhanced by his great love of the environment. Over a thirty year period he sourced, and populated the playground with native trees, planted beds, grew plants to encourage butterflies and bees, installed bird boxes and boxes for bats within the school environment and entered classes in a variety of Environmental projects, with great success– this is a lasting legacy for generations to come.

He took on the role of school football coach with great enthusiasm. His philosophy was that winning wasn’t important, it was more important that

everyone played a part and enjoyed the experience.

In later years the school however enjoyed footballing success, he wore this badge very proudly. Terry was held in very high esteem by the school footballing community, the shock of his death has led to an outpouring of comments the main one being ..”He was a real gentleman”

Terry was a talented artist and brought these skills into the classroom. It is fitting that he died in the preparation time for Christmas, I’m sure many households are putting up their decorations and marvelling at the decorations made in “Master McCullaugh’s class”.

Rest in Peace Terry, I hope you knew how respected and loved you were in Derrytrasna.

On a personal note can I say that I lived in Derrytrasna for six years and without doubt Terry McCullaugh was indeed some man because he was the only person I know who managed to get along with the Parish Priest of Seagoe Parish at that time. He was a true gentleman who unassumingly shone in every way. And all that remains for me to say is:

thank you Terry for all that you were to us and for us in this life.

An until it comes our time to be with Terry again in the Father’s mansion of many rooms, let us simply pray… Eternal rest…

I would just like to offer my sympathies to Terry’s wife Mairead and also to his daughter Colleen and to his son to Conor. To his son-in-law Cairan and to his granddaughters Erin and Fiadh.

Also to Terry’s mum and dad, Lily and Dessie and also to his sister Maureen and his brothers Donal and Desmond. To Terry’s his mother-in-law Pam and to all his brothers and sisters-in-law of Catherine, Martin, Catherine, Angela, Damian, Janet, Seamus and Barbara and to all his aunts, uncles and cousins, neighbours and friends assuring you of my prayers and support.

 

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