Saturday, 13 September 2014

A celebration of the life of Colm Wynne (1944 – 2014)

Colm Wynne (1944-2014)
Some of you may have noticed that my usual weekly post failed to appear on Saturday 30th August. Our family was sadly attending the funeral of my most wonderful uncle, Colm Wynne, who lost his battle with cancer on 28th August 2014. Colm left us that day to help my darling brother Sé (pronounced Shay) celebrate his 35th birthday. No doubt, Uncle Colm drank a glass, or two, of his favourite Hennessy X.O. at the celebrations that ensued. Heaven only knows what Sé’s tipple of choice might have been, but I'm sure it was a truly joyous occasion! 

Both are greatly missed.

At Colm’s funeral mass, my amazing cousin, Aileen Wynne, read this beautiful and moving eulogy that she had written for her father. 

‘Colm, my dad, was a great guy, as is shown by the overwhelming numbers of friends and visitors to the hospital, the hospice, here today, and last evening.  We, as a family, are very grateful for all of this support.

Colm was born in 1944 and lost his father way too young, when he was 16. As a result, he spent his life living with strong women - six sisters, his mother, maiden aunt and a housekeeper. For a quiet life he married my mother, then decided it was too quiet and had four daughters, and of course his beautiful granddaughter whom he cherished and adored.

Dad was a man who gave everything to whatever he was doing at the time. One major passion in his life was ballroom dancing. This is where he met my mother. She was not impressed by the arrogant git who cut in front of the boy she was about to dance with. His persistence paid off and she eventually realised he wasn’t so bad after all. They married in 1970.  Many of the dancers here have known him longer than us.

Colm started work in the Hire Purchase Company of Ireland, later known as AIF and AIB Finance & Leasing. He’s had many events and adventures during his life there. In 1972, his life was changed dramatically, not just by the birth of his eldest daughter, but by a change in job from 'Bank Clerk' to 'Systems Analyst'. This was where he got his love of technology and a great outlet for his inner nerd. He joined the Irish Computer Society and their Fellows’ Luncheon was one of the highlights of his social calendar, even up to this year when he had to attend in his wheelchair. 

Another major highlight was the school reunions for Joeys.

Colm loved photography from the time he first got to play with a box brownie as a child. He particularly loved landscape photography and we have many happy memories of heading off on photographic expeditions with him. Unfortunately, after some ill health when we were kids, later recognised as a massive heart attack, he wasn't able for the hill-walking so he moved to the studio, shooting portrait and glamour instead. He was a stalwart of the AIB Photo club until it ceased.

After he started his heart medication, he was able to take up landscape photography again. This was fantastic as, about six months before I got married, Carmel picked up a camera and started shooting, winning awards and loving it. This meant that since his retirement, she and Dad were able to go to Tymon Park to shoot the wildlife there. I know she got some great shots, though we’ve never seen Colm’s.

1991 was another significant year for Colm - new job, new hobby.  He moved from IT back into the business in AIF and he took up Toastmasters. Toastmasters, for those who don’t know, is an organisation that promotes communication, public speaking and leadership skills. With the skills learnt in Toastmasters, he was able to speak at some international DanceSport congresses and persuade them to adopt many of the rules and regulations of the Irish dance world.

He was also very involved with Concern debates, which he loved to adjudicate.

Colm retired in 2007, after 44 years. In theory, this was to allow him time to do all the things he’d wanted to do for years. He and Carmel had some great photographic holidays in Namibia, Iceland and other places. He was able to spend time working on the politics of ballroom dancing and the constitution of the Irish Dance Sport Federation / DanceSportIreland.  He also completed his Distinguished Toastmaster award.

Colm Wynne (1944-2014)

Unfortunately, he discovered he enjoyed genealogy handed to him, rather than looking in libraries and archives. This meant that Dara, my cousin, and I have our work cut out for us.

Dad also loved music. He discovered how to book tickets on Ticketmaster some years ago, and he did. He’d see a gig coming up that he wanted to go to and he’d book the tickets - then he’d find someone to go with him. He got to see great artists live, the 50th anniversaries of the Dubliners and the Chieftains, Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen… I believe there are still some of those tickets on the go…

Unfortunately, since he retired, he’s spent a lot of time ‘on the mend’ from serious illnesses. Each of these, on their own, might have killed another person, but not Colm.’
Aileen Wynne, 30 August 2014

© 2014 Black Raven Genealogy


  1. Dear Dara,
    I am so very sorry for your loss. Your uncle Colm is such a lovely man, who clearly lived every moment of his life with purpose and love. No doubt Colm and your brother Sé have toasted your cousin Aileen for the beautiful words of her eulogy, and there will be ballroom dancing in heaven tonight.
    All the best to you and your family,

  2. Thank you Jennifer, that is a lovely thought. I can picture them both.

  3. Oh, Dara, what a sweet remembrance. Your uncle and his "inner nerd" have somehow become part of a wider circle of friends through the sharing of these words.

  4. Thank you so much, Jacqi, your sentiments much appreciated.

  5. My Condolences Dara. What a wonderful tribute!

  6. Hello Dara Quinn, I'm a 'Joey's' past-pupil, and have been trying to contact former class-mates, I left Joeys in 1960, in 3rd year, to go to boarding school in Cork and so lost touch with most class-mates. Recently I started researching on Google and just today searched 'Colm Wynne' and read the sad news of his passing. I knew Colm for about 6 years- right from 3rd class primary in Joeys where he was part of the East Wall Mafia, right up to Inter-Cert in 1960. I really do have the very warmest and best of memories of Colm, he was very bright, very outgoing and seemed to have strong rebel tendencies, exactly the requirements for a good friend. He, Robert Carey also from East Wall and some other 'neer-do-wells' were something of a challenge for the teachers at the time, but they (and we) overcame that challenge. Please, accept my very belated but very sincere sympathy on the passing of Colm, a great guy, a guy I was lucky enough to know. Go ndheana Dia trócaire ar a anam. Joe Gantly

  7. Hello Joe, thank you for leaving a comment. It must be so sad to learn your childhood friends have passed away, please except our sympathies. Even after all this time, my mother remembers your name, - you must have been brats!!! ;-) She says, Colm, being the only boy, was spoilt rotten. We all miss him.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on this!