Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Much regretted passing of Albert Morris, founder member of Topic Newspapers

Mullingar lost one of its best known and most popular personalities early on Wednesday last, 23 September with the death of Albert Morris of 2 St. Loman’s Terrace, who was one of the founder members of Topic Newspapers half a century ago and who went on to set up his own printing business in Patrick Street, Mullingar.

Beloved husband of Eileen (nee Crowley) and father of David, Vinny and Greg, he passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family, at Tullamore Hospital last week, following a short illness and will be greatly missed by all who loved and knew him, including former colleagues and friends in Topic.

Albert, in his 86th year, was born in June, 1936, a native of White Rock View, in Wexford town. One of a family of sixteen, he was a printer by profession, and very skilled at his trade, which was a family tradition, with his father Tom also a printer, as were brothers. He learned the trade as a teenager in the local Wexford People firm and then emigrated and worked in Lemington Spa in Britain before returning to Ireland and coming to Mullingar, to take up a printing position with the Westmeath Examiner in 1957, offered to him by the then newspaper Manager, the late Kevin Cadogan, who had come to work in Mullingar from Wexford not long before.

Albert continued as a printer with the Examiner for fourteen years, until mid 1971, when he and Dick Hogan left the newspaper and were joined by Tommy Kiernan, who had left a short time earlier and with the late Michael Eivers, they started the firm Express Print at Dublin Road, Mullingar, and in November, 1971, the first edition of Topic was printed and published. Albert went on not many years later, to establish his own print works at Patrick Street and begin a new family business, which his son Greg, still continues. Down the decades, Albert remained a good friend and a very regular visitor to Topic right up to a few months ago, when he first became indisposed.

Devoted and faithful to his wife and family, as the celebrant of his funeral Mass on Saturday last, Fr. Norman Allred stated, he and his wife Eileen met just a day after he first came to town, at a dance in the County Hall, and the couple were wed two years later, in 1959, in a double wedding ceremony in the Cathedral, when Eileen’s sister Mary was also wed to Paddy Kenny.

Albert, who loved most sports, including horse and greyhound racing, hurling, and boxing, and particularly the outdoor life, and was a loyal Wexford man. For years, he enjoyed hunting rabbits with ferrets at week-ends, and he also kept greyhounds for a period. He was an excellent singer, with a fine tenor voice, and having lived with his grandparents for a time, near Wexford Opera House, and sneaking in to rehearsals there, he had a special appreciation of good singing and music. He loved a bit of ‘craic’ and was always willing to sing with little prompting.

Cycling was something he also greatly enjoyed, and in Mullingar with his eldest son Bertie, (whose passing at just 19 years of age, was a huge blow to Albert, Eileen and the family) he was a founder member of Mullingar Cycling Club, now Lakeside Wheelers. He was a great person for early rising throughout his life, and someone who loved company, a chat, a drink, and a ‘flutter’ on the horses. He was also a man of firm faith and found it tested in adversity over the years, and severely again last year, with the death of a second son, Conor.

We extend heartfelt sympathy to his much loved wife Eileen; his sons David, Vinny and Greg; his daughters-in-law Mary, Nora, Catherine and Melanie; his brothers Frank and Eddie; sisters Margaret, Elizabeth, Bernie, Mabel, Kathleen, Christine, Patricia and Ann; his adored grandchildren and great-grandchildren and other relatives and friends.

Following the Mass in Mullingar Cathedral on Saturday morning, the funeral took place to Ballyglass Cemetery, with directors and staff of Topic paying their respects as the cortege halted briefly as it passed in Mary Street. After the graveside prayers, Mark Irwin’s rendition of Albert’s best loved Wexford song “Boulavogue” was particularly appropriate.

May his kind soul rest eternally in God’s peace.

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