TRIBUTES have been paid following the death of well-known local man Humphrey O’Sullivan who has been remembered as “a true gentleman”.
Mr O’Sullivan passed away on Monday evening.
He was heavily involved in The Echo Women’s Mini Marathon and was an organiser of Cork’s largest social event for seniors the Over-60s Talent Competition alongside Paddy O’Brien.
In recent years, Mr O’Sullivan was awarded a Provincial Merit Award, the highest honour from the Franciscan Province of Ireland for his service of generosity and thanksgiving. He worked voluntarily with St Francis Church for 75 years, since he was 12 years of age, and is one of only a handful of people in Ireland to have received the honour.
Paddy Buckley of St Finbarrs AC and Cork County Board remembered Mr O’Sullivan as a “very humble, sincere and dependable man” who played an integral role in The Echo Women’s Mini Marathon since its inception.
“He was always a very nice man,” he said. “My earliest memories of him was at the beginning of the The Echo Women’s Mini Marathon.
“Himself and Brendan Mooney and Reg Hayes, they got the mini marathon up and running.”
Mr Buckley said that Mr O’Sullivan “always insisted on attending the last mini marathon meeting before the event just to check everything was in order”.
The first The Echo Women’s Mini Marathon took place in 1980 and had only 300 participants. Since then, it has gone from strength to strength, with more than 10,000 participants.
“He was always very loyal to The Echo,” Mr Buckley said.
“Humphrey used to be in charge of The Echo vans and all the transport activities for the paper.
“I remember him making goodie bags in The Echo/Examiner garage, there used to be a garage there one time and Humphrey would load up his van and take the goodie bags to the store and that was a very important job at the time.”
Local advocate for the elderly and organiser of the Over-60s Talent Competition, Paddy O’Brien, described Mr O’Sullivan as his “right hand man”.
Mr O’Sullivan had spent 32 years working alongside Paddy O’Brien at the Over-60s Talent Competition local heats, semi-finals and finals having first worked together at the heats of the competition in 1998.
Speaking about Mr O’Sullivan’s contribution to the competition over the years, Mr O’Brien told The Echo that he was “one of the kindest men I have met in my life”.
“He was most obliging and would do anything you asked him to do and played a big part in the success of the Over-60s Talent Competition down through the years,” Mr O’Brien said.
“He worked with me as an adjudicator for 32 years and for those 32 years he was at all the semi-finals, finals and all the local heats.
“His great support in the competition was very much appreciated and he will be very sadly missed by me and all the people associated with it.”
Mr O’Brien explained that some of those involved in the competition were in their 70s and 80s and that Mr O’Sullivan was very kind to them, always helping them and advising them.
“At rehearsals he was the man that would always look out for the weak link and give them lots of support and advice,” he said.
“He might say to someone that the song they chose didn’t suit them and would give them great advice.
“For many years I have been saying to people how great his input was to the competition. He never missed a local heat in all those years and many organisations in both the city and the county had great regard and respect for him.
“In one word he was a gentleman and I was honoured and lucky to have him as a friend for all those years.”
Francis Lennox of Lennox Hearing in Cork city also paid tribute to Mr O’Sullivan. He said he worked hard and was always seen running around the place on the night of the Over-60s Talent Competition semi-finals and finals to make sure things were done right.
“The success of the Over-60s Talent Competition was down to Humphrey as well,” he said.
Mr O’Brien sympathised with Mr O’Sullivan’s wife Bernie, his daughters Audrey and Hilary, his sons Owen and Anthony and all of his grandchildren “who he loved and adored”.