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Grandad Jerry: Simply The Best

by Jimmy Rhatigan

ENGLISH by name; Irish by birth; gentleman and scholar.

Baptized Jeremiah; the son of the Big Smoke, popularly Jerry, upped stumps and moved lock, stock and barrel from his native Dublin to his adopted Kilkenny City.

It was love at first sight.

Jerry English who has passed away in his 97th year and his late wife Pauline fell in love with our city in their younger years.

The late Jerry English

The feeling was mutual as our local community opened its heart to kindred spirits.

So began a fairytale-like story as a warm and friendly family was knitted perfectly into the black and amber jersey.

Reason for the transformation from big city life to what might be termed rural city ambience was that Jerry was to manage a Shirt Factory at Michael Street here.

The shirt business was to prove a good fit for the English family that settled comfortably into its new surrounds.

Love and family participation was the name of the game in the English household as mam and dad reared three sons and two daughters.

New roots blossomed and bloomed as the family increased and multiplied and became a highly respected wing of an ever expanding Kilkenny.


Quiet, friendly, intelligent, witty and committed to local traditions, Jerry and Pauline were hugely supportive of their nearest and dearest, grandchildren and extended family.

Jerry eventually moved from the production of shirts to the position of traffic warden in our city.

There was a suggestion that he would be too much of a gentleman to be a top class traffic warden.

Any doubters soon got their answers as he went on to be arguably the most popular warden of his era.

Keys to his success were his unsparing use of common sense, his power of persuasion and his communication skills.

After parking a job well done, Jerry went on to enjoy his retirement years as he used every minute of his time to be with his loved ones and, nattily dressed as usual, was always to the fore if a member of his family were involved in local activities.

He was a romantic at heart. His respect for tradition and pride in family saw him make more than a little bit of local history when, by invitation of the bride and groom he was best-man at a family wedding at the age of 91.


Would the excitement of a big occasion be too much for granddad in his senior years, family members pondered?

Not a hope.

Jerry’s personality and passion for kith and kin was exemplary as he helped to ensure a memorable occasion for his grandson and friend Michael Kealy and beautiful bride Aisling Ryan.

When Jerry and Pauline celebrated 25 years together, Pauline arranged to have a silver wedding ring fashioned for her husband.

The ring, made by Dessie Byrne at Kilkenny Design Workshops was passed to grandson John at the marriage and so Clan English had another family heirloom.

“I’d prefer John to have the ring. I am not bringing it to the grave,” were Jerry’s warm words at the time. 

Formerly of Cypress Avenue, Loughboy, Jerry passed away at Drakelands Nursing Home.

He was predeceased by his wife; son Mannie, grandson Emmanuel, granddaughter Laura, sisters, brothers and sisters-in-law and son-in-law Declan.

He is survived by his daughters Paula and Elizabeth; sons John and Ken; daughters-in-law Dolores, Laura and Denise; sons-in-law Michael and Brock; grandchildren Paula, John, Jemma, Trevor, Geraldine, Rachel, Amy, Jade, Robyn and Blaise; great grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

Remains are reposing at Johnston’s Funeral Home. Removal is to St Fiacre’s Church, Loughboy. Requiem Mass is tomorrow Wednesday at 10.30am, followed by burial at Foulkstown Cemetery.

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