THE indelible mark left by the late Joss Lowry on sporting and community groups in Killaloe and Ballina has been acknowledged this week.
The former Coillte forester from Killestry, Killaloe, died peacefully surrounded by his devoted family in the tender care of the staff of Milford Care Centre towards the end of last month.
The 75-year-old’s legacy included decades of voluntary work to a plethora of groups including Clarisford Park Committee, Killaloe Ballina RFC, Killaloe-Ballina Tennis Club, Smith O’Brien’s GAA and Camogie Club as well as fundraising for Milford Hospice in Limerick.
Leading the tributes, Clare County Council chairman, Tony O’Brien recalled Joss was a very proactive community activist who immediately immersed himself in community activities when he came to Killaloe in 1980.
Councillor O’Brien said Joss quickly joined Killaloe Ballina RFC where he volunteered as a staunch member.
“Joss initially started playing rugby and then got involved in the committee at officer level.
“He went on to become the chairperson of the old Killaloe Community Council in the late eighties. Joss also became very involved in underage activities in Smith O’Brien’s GAA and Camogie Club, starting as an officer and became chairman of the Bord Na Óg for many years.
“He was instrumental in drawing up the first club constitution, which was adopted in the late nineties. Setting high standards was his main goal.
“He got involved in the Clarisford Park project with other people and saw this to its fruition. He was also a director of Killaloe Development Company, which resulted in the provision of Killaloe community crèche – Kincora Kids.
“He was always involved in everything positive and local in Killaloe and Ballina. He was a serious contributor to community development in the locality,” he said.
The first citizen said he would be a huge loss to his family as a father and grandfather as well as the twin communities.
He recalled Joss loved travelling to watch Munster on trips to various venues near and far during weekends away.
A native of Upperchurch Drombane in Tipperary, Joss was proud of his roots in the Premier County. However, this didn’t diminish the huge commitment and service he willingly gave to numerous groups in the twin communities.
Joss was involved in the park from the very beginning and actively contributed to the amenity through his role as secretary/director from its inception until his death.
A minute silence was held in his memory during park activities on Saturday before it was closed as a mark of respect to his family on Sunday.
Club members in Smith O’Brien’s were deeply saddened to hear of the passing of their long time member and friend Joss after his recent illness.
He led the club’s Bord Na Óg with distinction in his jovial, confident and assertive manner.
Joss was a proud and passionate advocate for not only young players, but all children in the community. He also served as club registrar and on the executive committee for many years.
He was a gentleman to all that knew him and a larger-than-life figure in the community.
By virtue of his work as a forester Joss lived in many counties and lined out for many rugby clubs including Birr, New Ross and Sligo before he moved permanently to Killaloe in 1980.
After joining the Ballina-Killaloe club, he became a fixture in the front row, the epitome of a team player and a totally committed clubman.
He was a member of the club’s most successful team, which won multiple trophies including the Webb Cup in the 1980-1 season.
He served as treasurer, president and committee member in recent years.
Joss pioneered the massive Clarisford Park project, which ultimately guaranteed top of the range facilities for scouts, athletes, rugby and soccer players, runners, walkers and people of every generation in search of recreation.
A guard of honour was held outside St Flannan’s Church by members of Smith O’Brien’s Club and representatives of other organisations after his Funeral Mass.
Predeceased by his parents Jane and Thady and his brother Tom, he will be dearly missed by his loving wife, Margaret (née Ryan) and their children, Aoife, Timothy and James, his son-in law Stephen and daughters-in-law Niamh and Erica and his adored and cherished grandsons, Dan, Thady and Hugh.
He is also sadly missed by his wonderful sister and brothers, Carmel Bourke (Ballyboy), Phil (Drombane) and Tim (Drogheda), his much loved niece Laura, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nephews, nieces, cousins, neighbours, former Coillte colleagues, large circle of friends and the wider community. Burial took place in Reilig Lua, Killaloe.