AN Ederney businessman, who passed away at age 83, has been remembered as a “tough but successful entrepreneur”.

John McKervey, of Church Road, Ederney, was laid to rest in his beloved home town on Saturday, May 25.

There, mourners turned out at Saint Joseph’s Church, Ederney to pay their final respects to the late North Fermanagh businessman, who was well-known within the hardware, plumbing and building supplies industry.

Parish Priest, Father Frank McManus, said that over his lifetime Mr. McKervey became “synonymous” with local business James McKervey and Sons, where he gained a respected reputation as a “forceful” businessman.

“Like his brothers, Frank and Pat, John followed in his father’s footsteps into the retail business,” Fr. McManus told mourners.

“And despite all the challenges, John went on to become a tough but successful entrepreneur.

“He was ever supported by wife, Patricia and sister, Margaret, and a man who was almost like a brother to him, Jim McLaughlin.”

Fr. McManus said that Mr. McKervey remained committed to the business throughout his life; he even met his future wife at the firm!

“When it came to business he [Mr. McKervey] was pretty forceful, but he had to be more gentle when it came to romance,” Fr. McManus said.

“A certain Patricia Baird caught his eye, so he decided to take an indirect approach, and asked a member of staff to approach her and offer her a job. Not a bad ‘chat up line’ to a young lady in those days!

“Patricia duly accepted, and it was a prelude to her accepting the big promise here at St. Joseph’s, when she said ‘I do’!”

The couple went on to have two children, James and Patrick. Fr. McManus continued: “In some ways, it was a sign of John’s eccentricity, in that he had a hard side, but also a soft side, especially with local children.

“He made sure there was always a steady supply of sweets for them, and he extended kindness by visiting the elderly in their homes, and gifting them with parcels of groceries around Christmas time.”

Many fondly recount humorous encounters with Mr. McKervey, who was known for his “white shirt and funny ties”, Fr. McManus added.

“I don’t know if it was his business initiative, but when you met him, he wasn’t too serious; that was before the serious business began.

“I remember hearing that if you were coming through Ederney, chances are you would meet John somewhere.

“He was forever walking across the road from the hardware to the tile business. “Fr. Gallagher used to tease him that he was the fittest man in Ederney, as he was walking across the road so often!”

Fr. McManus added that Mr. McKervey was a “man of persistent faith”, who was proud of his family’s association with St. Joseph’s Church, Ederney.

He also remained steadfast within the family business unit.