Strathard Heritage Digital Archive

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John Patrick McGettigan- a farewell 18th September 2014.

    The following tribute was written and presented by John Lewis on the occasion of John Patrick McGettigan’s funeral. John was born in 1936 and died suddenly at home in Strathard on 11th September 2014.

    John McGettigan in Kinlochard–circa 2014.

    John Patrick McGettigan….Wee John to his parents and siblings…..

    John to many …….PaPa to his Grandchildren…….

    but  Paddy to most of us who knew him in this part of the world. 

    Paddy was born in 1936  on the family farm  in Kilmakregan, Donegal close to where St. Columba was born.    

    It was a tough but happy childhood shared with his six siblings.  He always remembered his parents with love, respect and gratitude for all he had learnt from them.   

    He still mourned and missed his two siblings  Daniel and Rosie who both died in middle age. 

    The rest of the family remained in touch frequently with visits to each other and with those  sacrosanct  Sunday evening telephone calls!

    And its so good to see so many McGettigans and Murphy’s with us today

    During his youth he embarked on two years training with a view to following the path to priesthood but he changed course and eventually in his thirties followed in the steps of his father and two elder brothers and came to Scotland. He worked in the woods at Inverary Castle and by all accounts,  led a tough  but fairly carefree life and was well known in the town.  

    It was there that he met Helen – a strong, hardworking and sincere lady.  Still remembered affectionately by many.

    After working  on  the dam in Glengarry and then at Invertrossachs, they moved to Aberfoyle  in 1968  and this is where their sons James & Daniel were born. Both parents were always  inordinately proud of their sons achievements.

    Paddy has remained in this area ever since but he never forgot his family roots in Ireland

    Closer to home, the marriage of  Daniel and the births of John (another John McGettigan) and Logan had a particularly strong and positive impact on him.  He was incredibly proud of the boys and delighted in their tales and the maturity  of the conversations he had with them. 

    He had a charmed life and survived his quota of misfortunes with luck and optimism. To remind us of some of these:

    • From the miraculous escape from a loose sleeper falling off a trailer onto his head leaving him a scar as broad as his smile.
    • To falling through Daniels ceiling while working in the loft.
    • To surviving a heart attack a couple of years back
    • From his love for a wee bit too much to drink, a problem which he overcame for good,  after years of determination and much to the surprise of the medical profession ………….
    • To  quitting  heavy smoking.
    • To discovering late in life that he had been blessed with only one kidney….
    • To his miraculous escape , as a non swimmer, from a truck 30 ft  underwater in a frozen Loch Venachar  and
    • To his famous Evil Knievel moment, leaving the Inverard on his motorcycle at some speed,  flying through the air and landing in a flock of grazing sheep…………

    The wee devil made the best of his 9 lives and survived them all.

    He always had the strength of character to overcome his problems and came back smiling. He never complained even in illness and adversity.

    This also showed in his determination to let you have his views whether these agreed with yours or not. Some times verbally but often by just the look!

    Paddy will also always be remembered for his companionship.

    Daily he visited Mrs. Le Meilleur through her years of illness and being house bound. Their  mutual verbal  sparring sessions were the stuff of legend

    He will also be remembered as a countryman and for his knowledge of the countryside and animals. Amongst others, he socially engineered a troop of  warring donkeys into a passive friendly lot.

    He had a most wonderful singing voice…….. though shy to use it and which we sadly did not hear enough of.  One unforgettable Hogmanay he and Fra serenaded us until the cocks crowed with many  great old Irish songs,  all egged on by  those of all ages.

    We will all have our special memories of Paddy and the mention of his name will always bring smiles to our faces. Happiness is the legacy that he has left to us all ……….and we are all the richer for having known him.  

    John McGettigan in the early 2000s.

    To conclude I ask that you accept these words:

    Those we hold most dear

    Never truly leave us….

    They live on.

    In the kindness they showed

    And the humour they shared

    And the love they brought

    Into our lives

    Paddy, we shall miss you……….  but we will always have you in our memories as an admirable,  happy, kind and faithful friend.