Mala Conlon, who died on October 8 last, was a hard-working, family-orientated man, who loved life and treasured his time with his wife, Briege and family.
He was born in Dundalk on February 21, 1942, and spent all of his early life in Hughes Park, with his parents, Matthew and Elizabeth (Mattie and Lizzy), brothers, sisters, uncle and two aunts.
He was the third eldest of 11 children, and theirs was a close-knit family, a bond which remains today.
Mala attended the Friary school for his early education, and in the late 50s, at the age of 17, he went to live in London with his uncles and some of his pals to work, and remained there for a period of time.
Upon his return from London, and after a brief encounter 18 months earlier, he rekindled his romance with Briege.
They married almost three years later, a marriage that was to last 54 years, until the day he died suddenly.
In 1962, Mala and Briege went to live in London to find a better life for themselves, and their first two children were born there.
After living in London for a number of years, they returned home to Dundalk, and resided in Ladywell Square, just a street away from his parents’ home, where they remained for 32 years before moving to Faughart.
He was the proud father of one son, Kevin, and five daughters, Valerie, Carole, Georgina, Martina and Majella, whom he loved dearly, and was very proud of everything they achieved.
During his early life, he worked in DEW (Dundalk Engineering Works), and served his time as an apprentice fitter-welder under the tutelage of the late Brendan Marry in the old Tech, Chapel Street, attending night classes.
Unfortunately, DEW closed down soon after his apprenticeship was completed. So Mala then commenced employment in James Murphy & Sons coachbuilders, and remained there until the early 70s.
His next employment was with Tommy McArdle coachbuilders, where he stayed until its closure in the mid-80s.
There was a great camaraderie between the workers in the engineering and coachbuilding workplace, and lifelong friendships were forged wherever Mala was employed.
He had a fun-loving outlook on life, and was a known prankster.
Mala’s final employment, which lasted 28 years, until his very sudden and untimely death, was as a taxi driver in Dundalk.
He will be remembered by his loyal customers, as his wit and humour were notorious.
He was a proud member of the T&J golfing society, and looked forward every year to the annual outing in Rosapenna, where many a joke was played, and many memories gathered by all, young and old alike.
Mala was also an avid member of Greenore golf club, and spent much of his free time putting the ball around the green.
He was very proud of his membership in Greenore, and had tried to pass on his love of golf to most of his grandsons, at some stage in their young lives.
Mala loved to travel, and he and Briege travelled to many exotic places, and quite a few of the continents along the way.
He loved to dance, especially Jive, and was also an excellent Irish dancer. He spent some time in his early life Irish dancing in the Gaelic League hall, and loved all things Irish.
His musical interests were vast, and included Classical, Rock & Roll and The Rat Pack. He loved to sing along, and would ask his children to write out the words of songs for him to learn, which meant they were learning them with him.
His sudden and untimely death has left a gap that cannot be filled, and a limb has fallen from the family tree.
Mala was predeceased by his father, Matthew; mother, Elizabeth; brother, James and sister, Bridget.
He will be sadly missed and always loved by his wife, Briege; son, Kevin; daughters, Valerie Lawless, Carole Kerley, Georgina Coburn, Martina McGuinness, Majella Conlon; sons and daughter in law, grandchildren, great-grandchildren; brothers, Patsy, John, Brian, Peter and Kevin; sisters, Marie, Kathleen and Bernadette; brothers in law, sisters in law, nieces, nephews, his many cousins and wide circle of friends and associates, too numerous to mention.
Fr Keenan officiated at a beautiful funeral Mass, and Henry Mac provided renditions of Mala’s favourite songs.
Month’s Mind Mass will be celebrated on Sunday, November 6, at 11.30am in St. Patrick’s.