THE town of Fermoy came to a standstill on Saturday afternoon as a grateful community paid tribute to businessman Dr Tom Cavanagh, who passed away on Thursday at the age of 92.
Large crowds attended the funeral Mass held at St Patrick’s Church in Fermoy, while there was a plethora of guards of honour provided by community groups, charities and sporting organisations which benefitted from Dr Cavanagh who donated millions to charitable causes.
Fr Brian Boyle the parish administrator in Fermoy reflected on Dr Tom Cavanagh’s many achievements during his life, but said his family was his greatest.
“Tom’s passing from this world was calm, gentle and without fuss. It was exactly as he would have prayed and hoped for. Surrounded by his beloved family and having received the last rights of the church he gently slipped away from this world to the next as we prayed the rosary at his bedside,” he added.
As well as being a well-known businessman, in 1994, Dr Cavanagh established the Tomar Trust, which provides support and resources to community groups.
Dr Cavanagh also founded and was the chairman of Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL), while in 2020, Dr Cavanagh became only the third Corkman to be inducted into the Cork Person of the Year Hall of Fame.
Dr Cavanagh was also a noted athlete and sportsman, but despite his many achievements, Fr Boyle said he was a man of great humility and faith.
“He was a man of great intelligence and was blessed with the capacity to gain an accurate and deep understanding of someone or something, but he was also a man of deep faith and of deep humility. His faith, religious belief and practice were gently interwoven into the very fabric of his life,” he added.
The sadness which has engulfed Fermoy in recent days following his death didn’t surprise Fr Boyle who said Mr Cavanagh’s interest in his beloved hometown never waned.
“Having lived for over nine decades his body may have been slowing down but his mind was razor sharp. I was always struck that he knew so much of what was happening in the world and what was happening here in his beloved hometown of Fermoy. That interest never waned. It stayed with him right to the very end.”