A widely respected gentleman and a true sportsman, the passing of former school principal saddened an entire community
The sudden passing of Albie Flanagan, Upper Brackernagh, Ballinasloe came as a great shock, not alone in his adopted town but also in South Roscommon where he was born, the eldest of three children. A widely respected gentleman and a true sportsman, he endeared himself to many with his ever friendly positive disposition and courteous attitude to all and sundry. Albie Flanagan was born in Knockcroghery, Roscommon on 4th January 1935 and as a youngster played both hurling and football and wore the county minor jersey in hurling. After completing his secondary education, Albie trained as a teacher in St. Patrick’s College, Drumcondra and after qualifying started his teaching career for a brief sojourn in Co. Monaghan before making his way back to Co. Roscommon where he taught in a number of schools and even spent some time teaching in Clashaganny National School, the same school that both his grandparents and his uncle had taught at years previously.
Following his marriage to Eileen Duffy in 1961, they both moved to Ontario, Canada where Albie worked as a teacher and Eileen as a midwife. They returned to Ireland after five years. Both their daughters Maureen and Adrienne were born in Canada followed by their three sons John, Brendan and Alfred once they had settled back in Ireland. Albie taught in Tiaquin NS near Athenry before becoming Principal of St. Grellan’s Boy’s National School in Ballinasloe in 1970 where he spent many happy days until his retirement in 1998. There he was held in the highest esteem by both his colleagues and the hundreds of boys under his supervision, always approachable and understanding.
Walking and golfing were two of Albie’s most favourite pastimes and he enjoyed both right up until his untimely death. He was never happier than when organizing a game with his many golfing buddies, his son and sons in law and was delighted when some of his grandchildren also showed an interest in the game. He held the honour of Club President in Ballinasloe Golf Club in 1989. This was a great recognition for a man that always captured an audience when relating his own experiences be they to do with travel, teaching or sporting pursuits. Eleven years ago the late Mr. Flanagan lost his eldest son John after a short illness. A few years later his wife Eileen became ill and the family witnessed their Dad’s enduring love as he became her carer, right up to her passing just five months ago.
A year ago he had to cope with the horrific death of his daughter Maureen in a traffic accident. His faith remained strong and he displayed amazing strength and support for his family during the saddest of times . Former pupils, teachers and sporting rivals were among the large numbers that came to pay their respects at Albie’s reposal, mass and burial. Present and former teachers as well as officers and members of the local golf club formed guards of honour in a final farewell to a true gentleman, an exceptionally-loved family man and a true “Rossie.” The late Mr. Flanagan is survived by his daughter Adrienne, sons Brendan and Alfred, sister Maimie, brother Val and many more relatives and friends.
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