Centenarian Jack is grateful for his many blessings!
Even though he was totally unaware of it, Jack Brophy was born at a tumultuous time in Ireland’s history – just three months before the end of the War of Independence.
The father of eleven will be surrounded by his beloved family for a quiet celebration in Moate Nursing Home today (Friday) to mark the milestone achievement of his 100th birthday and the presentation of the President’s Cheque to mark the special occasion.
Jack Brophy became a resident of Moate Nursing Home in January of 2018 having spent over 72 years living in the Marian Place housing estate in Tullamore with his beloved late wife, Kathleen (Freer) from the Clontarf road whom he met the year after he moved to Tullamore from his native Kilkenny.
The couple were married in 1949 and spent 64 happy years together before Kathleen sadly passed away in February 2013. The couple reared eleven children, seven daughters and four sons, all but three of whom have settled with their own families in the town of Tullamore and its wider hinterland.
Now surrounded by 29 grandchildren and 30 great-grandchildren (with two more on the way), Jack Brophy continues to enjoy reasonably good health and enjoys keeping up to date with all the latest news about his extended family and about his neighbours and friends in Tullamore.
Like other nursing home residents, the Covid-19 restrictions over the past year have proved to be difficult for Jack and his family, but throughout all the challenges he has continued to remain in good form and to retain his quick wit and sense of humour.
A gifted carpenter throughout his long life, he worked for over 30 years with the well-known builder, Johnny Kilmartin from the Arden Road, and among the buildings which bear permanent testimony to Jack Brophy’s skilled hands as a carpenter are St Patrick’s Church in Killeigh; the primary schools in Rahugh, Eiscir and Ballybrien; St Carthage Church in Killina and also the Presentation Secondary School in Killina.
He also did carpentry work in many of the housing schemes built around Tullamore and was much sought after to do jobs for others.
A man of great faith, which he admits sustained him in good times and bad, throughout his life, Jack Brophy was a lifelong member of the Tullamore Legion of Mary, and stills reads his weekly copy of the Irish Catholic newspaper right up to the present day.
He prays daily, as he has done throughout his life, and the rosary has always been a very important part of his daily prayer routine. In fact, he is rarely seen without his beloved rosary beads in his lap, and he used to lead the daily recitation of the rosary among residents in the nursing home, and among members of his own family during their visits to him, in pre-Covid times.
Seven of the eleven Brophy children were born in the family home at Number 93 Marian Place as home births were common in those days, and during their seven decades at the same address in Tullamore Jack Brophy says he “never as much as changed a lock” on the iconic front door of their family home.
In fact, the centenarian holds the unique distinction of being the proud owner of the only original front in the Marian Place housing estate in Tullamore, which was built in 1955. His family of eleven, Mary, Theresa, Willie, Ann, Joe, Catherine, Michael, Pat, Liz, Rose and Helen are honoured and delighted to be able to celebrate their father’s 100th birthday and say it is a great privilege to have had the benefit of his wisdom and company for such a long time.
As he reflects on his 100 years, Jack Brophy continues to focus his thoughts outwards, and never misses an opportunity to give thanks for his many blessings and to enquire about the welfare of his extended family. He is grateful for a life well lived!