As funeral arrangements for the late Jim McCormick await to be finalised, tributes were continuing to pour in for the man who has brought Letterkenny to the brink of an overall success in the National Tidy Towns competition.
Describing his “shock and sadness” at the sudden death of the 69-year-old native of Milford, Letterkenny Town Mayor, Cllr. Gerry McMonagle said yesterday: “He’s left a void that I don’t honestly know how we’ll fill.”
Mr. McCormick was on a break with his wife, Fionnula in Malaga in Spain when he passed away on Friday morning.
His funeral mass will take place in St, Mary’s Church in Fanavolty and he’ll be laid to rest in the family plot in Milford. But up to yesterday evening, dates and times had yet to be confirmed.
His involvement with the Tidy Towns committee as chairman over many years has propelled Letterkenny into gold medal status and just two weeks ago, the town finished four marks behind the overall winner, Killarney. He was also instrumental in establishing Magees Pharmacy as one of the town’s prime business outlets.
“He had great vision and a great commitment and drive to develop Letterkenny in the Tidy Towns. Jim has to take much of the praise for the way Letterkenny looks today. Because of his efforts, people are consciously picking up litter and have developed a pride in the town,” said cllr. McMonagle.
“I was talking to him at the recent Tidy Towns exhibition which shows the transformation of Letterkenny from a town that was knee deep in litter to what it is now. That’s all down to him.
“He has raised the bar every year and deserves all the plaudits for the steady progress in the Tidy Towns competition.”
The late Mr. McCormick was, the Mayor maintained, also an “astute businessman” who had helped develop the town as a commercial attraction.
Cllr. McMonagle said when the time was right the Council would honour him in a fitting fashion and consequently allowing his legacy to live on.
“A huge loss”
The sudden death of Jim Mc Cormick was described at the weekend as a “huge loss” to his family and a big loss to the fabric of Letterkenny’s business and community.
“Jim had a passion for promoting the town and his dedication to the Tidy Towns efforts are well documented,” Senator Jimmy Harte declared. “Whenever you met Jim he always had a new idea about keeping the town clean and kept the Town Council on it’s toes to assist him and the committee .
“As a successful businessman for many years he was well placed to see the town and especially the main street develop and his advice was always invaluable,” said the Senator who extended his sympathies to the late Mr. McCormick’s wife Fionnuala, and to his sons Brian, Gerard and Eoin.
Deputy Principal of Scoil Cholmcille and vice-chairperson of the Letterkenny Tidy Towns committee, Anne McGowan said Mr. McCormick had acted as an “inspiration” to young people. “He took a special interest in the students in the town’s schools and was always at hand to provide instruction, encouragement, praise and affirmation.
“He walked the talk and was rewarded by the respect of these young people who held him in genuine positive regard. He took delight in their growing environmental awareness,” said Ms. McGowan who said the school and the committee were “devastated” by the news of his passing.
Former Letterkenny councillor, P.J. Blake recalled proposing the hosting of a Civic Reception to honour Mr. McCormick in recognition of the work he had done for the Tidy Towns.
“I know he was very honoured to have received it and the Council was more than delighted to grant it. He did trojan work for Letterkenny when for so many years he had been a lone voice in the wilderness.
“The achievements of the town in the Tidy Towns competition is primarily due to Jim McCormick and all he did. He’ll be greatly missed by both his family and the community,” Mr. Blake indicated.