Written by Mary
Sunday, 14 November 2010 14:26
Among the many characters of the bygone Newtown people was William (Bill) O'Grady. Bill Grady, as most people knew him, was my Great Grandfather born March 1863 and eventually married Lizzie Reardon, my Great grandmother, needless to say I never knew him personally as he had long since died before I was born, However, from what I have been told, by the now eldest of the family who knew him well, I have to say that I wish he were alive today so that I could get to know him also.
He had many attributes but most of all he was good husband and loved his children. His two sons John and William had both died at a very early age leaving three surviving daughters Winnie, Mary (my Nan) and Eileen. Sadly they too have all since passed away. He worked at the Bute Dry Dock as a painter for most of his life and was so well respected there that he was called upon many times to do work privately for managers and ship owners alike, he could turn his hand to just about anything picture painting, of which he did quite a few, and carpentry were his two favourite hobbies. He had made several toys for his then eldest granddaughter, dolls house, blackboard and easel, and a desk and chair so beautifully finished that the like of such would be very hard to find In this day and age.
>At one time he made a replica of the Altar that was in St. Pauls church to sit on the mantle piece in the bedroom, some of the neighbours saw it and asked if he would make one for them also from what I understand he made about five more of those and the people he made them for were delighted. He did not buy anything that he could make himself, he even made what was called a crystal radio - again successfully.
He was a very kind and caring man who drank very little, maybe two pints of beer in a year and a glass of port at Christmas but, he loved to smoke his pipe. He used to visit Nazareth House on many Saturdays to do what ever he could to help there. One Christmas he painted a back-drop for the crib of the three wise men bearing gifts, which I understand was used for may years.
Just before the start of the last war he had built a chicken coup and he was delighted to be able to provide the Parish Priest Canon Greisharber (who was a great friend of his) with fresh eggs, which were very hard to come by during the war years, but these are only some of the things I can tell you without becoming boring. He was an army man and served in a couple of wars but I am lead to believe that the time he enjoyed most of all was when he was stationed in Malta and acted as a school master to the officers children. He loved the country because he was a religious man and his religion was strengthened there given that this was also a Catholic country.
He died at the ripe old age of 82 on the 26th of January 1945 with his family around his bedside, along with his good friend the Canon saying the Rosary. He too was praying with the family until sadly he drew his last breath with a prayer on his lips and his Rosary Beads entwined in his fingers.