Dancer, baker, artist and so much more, the late and much missed Dean Doherty pictured last Christmas on Creevy Pier supporting the annual charity swim. PICTURE: JOANNE DOHERTY
The sudden death, just over a month ago, of Dean Doherty, from Ballyshannon, has yet to sink in with all who loved and knew him.
Just turned 30 when he died suddenly at St James’s Hospital in Dublin on June 24, there was something very special about Dean.
The mere mention of his name brings an instant smile and a tear from those who are thinking about him every hour, every day, since his untimely death.
He had soul. He was an artist, a dancer, a baker, a model, a chancer, a charmer and a bit of a ‘divil’ who loved to play pranks, often scaring the life out of his siblings and his parents.
But, above all else, at all times, he was someone you wanted in your company. With Dean there was never, ever, a dull moment. You couldn’t fall out with him for more than a minute. Not a chance.
He had such style, you would notice him in a room, he was 6’2” and he had an effortless presence about him.
There was a gentle side to him, he did so much for many without ever a word.
Friends talk openly now about his generosity to those who were hungry and destitute. His mother recalled his work for those in need in Dublin.
Behind the smile and the banter there was a man who worked hard from his teens in a variety of jobs. He had an independent streak in him and made things happen for himself; he was a young man driven to do better for himself.
He didn’t need or ask for anything handy. He was a grafter when he needed to be and the importance of his parents and his family was paramount. Christmas in Coolcholly was always special and he loved every second of his time at home.
One of a family of eight, his brothers and sisters and his parents Francie and Frances and a very wide circle of friends in Ballyshannon, Dublin and so many other places, are simply lost without him.
He leaves behind him a life well lived, a life where he helped others, tutored people to dance, fed those who were hungry or broke, was caring to those who had little or nothing.
He was too young to die, but at just 30 years of age, he had crammed so much into his time here.
At his Requiem Mass in St Patrick’s Church in Ballyshannon mourners got a sense of the man leaving them when his family brought forward ‘memories of his life’ - a Trilby hat, a salute to his sartorial elegance, that undeniable love for style and clothes; earphones, he loved music; art pencils and a folder of his remarkable drawings and his husky teddy bear, a salute to a part of Dean that was forever young.
His early years were pretty typical for a Ballyshannon lad, school days started at Our Lady of the Angels, from there to St Joseph’s, The Rock and then second level at De La Salle.
He went to IT Sligo, then Sligo Regional Technical College, where he studied Industrial Engineering and from 2010 he moved to Dublin, where he had a mix of jobs, among them bar work, before he started as an official with Royal Bank of Scotland, a job he loved.
He worked in Dublin and Manchester for RBS on a rolling basis when required.
While still at secondary school he taught younger kids, among them his sister Danika, to dance, and it turned out he was really good at that - a talent his father Francie gives instant credit to Dean’s mum Frances.
But like Francie, he shared a family love for animals and the outdoors.
The Dohertys are renowned for their knowledge of horses and Francie, in particular, is an astute ‘doggy man’.
Dean happily travelled the country to greyhound meetings in Lifford, Longford, Mullingar and elsewhere with Francie and he had a natural talent for looking after and training greyhounds.
His talents were nothing if varied. He was a brilliant baker and was in demand from friends and family to bake wedding and special event cakes for years, while his artistic skills, he designed tattoos, led him into a world where his skills were much sought after.
He looked after himself, he was super fit, loved the gym and was a regular sea and pool swimmer.
Above all else he was a people person and the release of 50 balloons by work colleagues on July 24 last, the one month anniversary of his death, reflected the impact he made on so many in his work life.
He was also remembered at the recent Gay Pride march in Dublin where a balloon with his name was released.
His wake and funeral were attended by huge numbers, well into the thousands, his sister Joanne read a beautiful eulogy where she spoke of a brother and son who was treasured and loved.
Family and friends were involved in all aspects of the funeral liturgy, sister Nadine and great friend Martina Breslin did the readings, brother Dylan and sister Danika brought the gifts to the altar, close friend Kevin Gallagher read a letter from his brother Frankie in the USA.
The Requiem Mass was celebrated by Fr Cathal Ó Fearrai PP, assisted by Fr Dermot Burke and Fr Herbie Bromley, with Fr Ó Fearrai also officiating at the graveside in the Rock.
Dean is mourned by so many, his parents Francie and Frances, brothers and sisters Joanne, Frankie, Cherié, Nadine, Lee, Danika and Dylan, brother-in-law Keith O’Brien, his niece Kaithlin O’Brien and his soon to be brother-in-law Anthony Coughlin, many other relatives and friends, to whom sympathy is extended.
May he rest in peace.