One of Ballyfermot's oldest residents passes away shortly after celebrating milestone birthday

By Maurice Garvey

A GREAT-great-grandfather celebrated his 100th birthday last week, just days before passing away from natural causes.

Ballyfermot man Thomas Fortune reached the major milestone on August 24, and received his letter of recognition and cheque worth €2,700 from President Michael D Higgins.

Thomas Fortune rip

A former blacksmith and Irish Army veteran, Thomas Fortune was one of the first residents to move to Ballyfermot from the inner city, with his wife Mary, who passed away 10 years ago.

The couple lived in Ballyfermot Drive and raised four children –Noeleen, Breada, Sheila and Thomas junior.

Thomas was known as ‘Brownie’ due to his work with Irish Rail, according to his grand-daughter Jodie Balfe.

Jodie said: “He worked as a blacksmith in Inchicore works for 40 years, and got his nickname ‘Brownie’ while working there, as his face was always brown from the fire.

“Him and my nanny were one of the first families to move into Ballyfermot. They lived in a room on The Coombe before moving to Ballyfermot Drive. He had 11 grandkids, 16 great-grandkids and one great-great-grandchild.”

It has been a bittersweet week for the family, after Thomas passed away on Sunday, just three days after celebrations for his milestone birthday.

 “Sadly, my grandad passed away this afternoon (Sunday) in St James’s Hospital, peacefully,” said Jodie.

“He was a great man and had a great life. I got married two years ago and he was on the dance floor all night.”

A funeral service for Thomas Fortune was held in the Church of the Assumption on Wednesday.

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