Sunday, June 03, 2018

The passing of Jim Collins (The Gilly)

The Diary has been informed, to our great personal sadness which will be reflected across the whole community, of the death of Jim Collins, of Millstone House, at the age of 80.

He is survived by his wife Nuala, and their children Deirdre, Maeve and Fiona; his sons-in-law Conor, Ben and James; his grandchildren; and his brother John. We extend our heartfelt condolences to all of them on the loss of a husband, father and grandfather, brother, and of a stalwart of community.

Jim always played a strong part in Kilcullen's social and business life, and was a key member of the Community Council which operated to the great benefit of Kilcullen people during the 1970s. Among other things, he was the prime mover in the development of 'The Valley' as a park for the people of Kilcullen.

On that project alone, he spearheaded a number of innovative fundraising projects to raise tens of thousands of pounds to develop the former scrubland as a park. He ever since continued to take a very hands-on interest in the Valley, even up to recently when he organised the removal of a number of trees which had become dangerous and were also blocking the views of the river.

His passing also means the end of a multitude of memories of times past in Kilcullen, especially during the 1940s and 1950s when he was growing up, many of them centred around the weir which provided his late father with power for the mill he operated, the river itself, and the many characters among those who lived and worked in Kilcullen. His father, also Jim and known as The Miller, passed away in 1983. His mother Daisy had predeceased his father in 1959.

Jim was a lodestone for many a Kilcullen emigrant who wanted to keep in touch with their home town, both while they were away and whenever they came home to visit. On those latter occasions Jim was the one who always organised a get-together, to swap news and stories and memories. In recent years, the cohort of these compadres was too-regularly reduced, most recently by the death of his great friend Donal St Leger.

Jim never subscribed to the concept of the half-empty glass, never understood the thought that 'it can't be done', and his company was always a tonic if one wasn't feeling the best.

His passing leaves a void in the essential fabric of a town which he truly loved, and among family and friends whom he so deeply cared for.

Jim will be reposing at his home from 5pm-8pm tomorrow, Monday, and will be brought to Kilcullen Parish Church on Tuesday for 1pm requiem mass. His funeral will take place afterwards to St Brigid's Cemetery.

Family flowers only. House private on Tuesday morning. Should anyone wish to make a contribution to his memory, it can be done by donation to his Support the Valley Park fund.

May he rest in peace.