Dougie Remembered

William Douglas Partridge Requiem Mass Eulogy 22
nd Nov 2012 – Bill Colfer
Good Morning everybody I am both humbled and deeply honoured that Dougie’s bereaved family invite me here in his parish church to pay tribute on all his friends behalf to Dougie’s unerring spirit and generous involvement in GAA especially Juvenile Hurling, Football, and lesser known Handball over so many years. As Friends of Dougie each one of us has fond memories that will endure and words of mine can’t do justice to the dear friendship that Dougie provided to so many people in Tramore; Waterford Glass; the Papermills and beyond. Trophies, although numerous are surpassed by enjoyable involvement as his legacy. His vibrancy and active interest in the next steps for Tramore GAA never faltered including planning earlier this year for the Juvenile 40th celebrations last September – more recently even while convalescing in Dungarvan he signalled with delight the next task would be a Juvenile event to open the Astro-Turf facility – a project his progressive attitude embraced immediately it was conceived in 2005. Dougie himself had to review the 40th booklet discreetly of course such was his modest nature so in conversation with his brother Tom in recent days we arranged that the appreciation to our founder member Dougie Partridge in last summer’s commemorative booklet be read here today.

Dougie....  No other name required
In any history of GAA in Tramore, one name will overarch all others. That name like his predeceased father’s is William Douglas Partridge but like so few in our world, perhaps Bono, Gooch, & Brick, even President Michael D must have the 2nd initial, but such is not the case here where just one name is sufficient – Dougie. Familiar to hundreds of players that graduated the ranks of the Juvenile Club through four decades, Dougie’s role in the club goes back to his first membership in 1956.  He has a distinguished playing career with two Senior Football medals two Intermediate Football and a Junior. In hurling he has Intermediate Hurling with 3 Leinster and 1 All Ireland Interfirms League with the Papermills. Dougie also represented Waterford in Intermediate Hurling. As schools liaison for the last decade and as Juvenile Club founder Officer his service is continuous since starting the juvenile club in CBS staffroom with Rev Brother Farrell in 1972. Dougie’s recollection and interest in the fortunes and prospects of emerging talent is quite remarkable and rarely does he forget a name.
Dougie’s affable nature belies his determination to first identify club needs and then get the job done. His knack to round up players on foot throughout Tramore travelling to city games by double decker in former years is legendary as is his dedication to community fundraising, including supervision of bygone Club Discos, for who could possibly say no to such a gentleman.
For others, involvement has peaked and waned like shoreline waves, and although Dougie has never sought publicity or personal gain, he has however applied the glue that held the club together through all challenges over more than four decades. He like the Metalman represented on the club crest has been ever present. Another enviable trait of Dougie’s is his ability to resist the temptation of over interference yet reassuringly he remains constant to gently guide the Committee as new people for successive generations of players have joined the Juvenile Ranks. Dougie is perhaps the best reminder to us all that we are merely custodians of the club responsible for it’s safe keeping during our years before passing it on as vibrant as when founded. This morning I salute a lifetime of service to family, mother Molly, club & community.
We will miss him dearly whereas his family’s loss is much more & with all his friends our prayers are with you. Farewell my friend your role will be unequalled. Ní Bheidh a leithéad arís ann.
     Below is Chairman Ruairi Connors' address to the congregation .       

     Dougies first membership of the club was in 1956. Thats 56 years of servIce to the club, and what a service that was. His commitment and dedication was second to none. I call it discretionary effort when people volunteer their own personal time without any expectation of something in return. Giving that for 56 years with no interest other than the betterment of the club is rare to say the least.

     It's customary in the GAA when a member,or former member, passes away that the national flag is put at half mast as a mark of respect. Often you could arrive down in the club and be asked, or even ask the question yourself who the flag is at half mast for. Not today.
     Dougies work with the schools of Tramore, all of them, was nothing short of absolute and complete dedication. Not a school principal or teacher past or present has ever had anything other than complimentary remarks for me when we would meet through GAA or school related matters about the work that Dougie did. A source of great pride for Dougie was when a trophy or cup was won in the club, that we got to bring it around all the schools with the team. His greatest kick was always when he cornered the school principal and gained firm commitment from them to give the whole school homework off. That always seemed to be the icing on the cake.
     Dougies knack of rounding up players was pure genius, no text messaging, no car, not even a bike. He knew how the lads socialised as groups and would pick off some key people to spread the word. Meet at the canons field at 530 we have a game. Tell everyone, and they did.
    We had a visit to the club this year by the famous Kerry Football star Colm Cooper, better known as "the Gooch". He mingled with the kids and adult members. I asked him to sit into a photo with Dougie. Later while talking I commented that its not often you get to sit down and have your photo taken with a legend of the GAA. I was talking to the Gooch, and he got it. He told me All Stars don't just happen because they were born with that ability. They have someone like Dougie encouraging them along and inspiring them every step of the way.
     Dougie loved the social side of the club. I recall one night Dougie was  belting out his usual  Song , " Any dream will do". I've been humming the tune since last night. I can picture it clearly watching him enjoy himself in full voice. I remember standing beside one of the senior hurling selectors that evening and he getting quite emotional watching Dougie sing. He said to me that there would not be a Hurley in this town but for him. God only knows where half the club would have ended up had they not crossed his path.

    At home it's rare that the landline rings. There are probably four people that ever call our house on that number. Saturday morning was always a predictable one. The phone would ring and my daughters would shout Dad, it's Dougie. The inevitable conversation would begin with the one question, how's the Astro Turf going ? You know its vital to the future of the club. The children need that facility. Dougie always finished the conversation with two words, Keep Going.
 Well we did, and we will.

     Last Saturday night we held a club awards night. It was the first one held in many many years. When the organising committee spoke about their plans for the night and how we would sort out player awards etc, the subject of lifetime achievements and outstanding service to the club came up. One thing became immediately evident to the committee, and that was that it would not be possible to give out just one. In Tramore GAA we have the good fortune of having many to choose from, but in year one, two stood out clearly above the rest. The Micheal McCraith lifetime achievement award 2012 was proudly accepted on Dougie's behalf by his brother in law Paddy.  He commented to the people at the award night that when he told Dougie that he had been honoured with this award and that he would be picking it up for him on Saturday night he asked Dougie what would you like me to say.
  He said tell them "Thank You"

  In conclusion on behalf of the community of Tramore, all the schools, and most importantly
  Tramore GAA club, to you the Partridge Family "Thank You"

This below  is the piece sent to the papers and the newsletter

There was great sadness in the Club, throughout Tramore and beyond when we heard that Dougie had died peacefully at his home in Marian Terrace, on Tuesday morning, surrounded by his loving family, after a short illness. Dougie was a monumental figure in Micheál MacCraith GAA Club all his life. Before he had the foresight to start up the Juvenile Club in 1972, he had been a prominent player for many years. He won 2 Senior Football Championship medals, 2 Intermediate Football and 1 Junior Football medals in addition to an Intermediate Hurling medal. He also played for the Paper Mills who won the All-Ireland Inter-Firms title in 1968. 
     Even as a player, Dougie was one of the mainstays of underage hurling and football in the Club in the Sixties. How he rounded up players and got them into Waterford and back on the double-decker buses for matches is legendary. I'm sure there were many occasions when Dougie was out of pocket as many of the young players did not have sufficient money for the bus fares. His work in the Juvenile Club is acknowledged in many parts of Ireland as he struck up many long-lasting friendships from many of the tournaments his teams participated in. He worked tirelessly for the youth of Tramore over the past 50 years and was influencial in the lives of so many young men. Dougie, one of the most popular people in Tramore, was a humble person and a true gentleman, who loved his family and Tramore GAA so much. 
     His removal and funeral were attended by huge crowds and the Club had a lovely Guard of Honour for him. Outside of the GAA, Dougie loved dogs and aways enjoyed taking them for long walks. He owned a variety of dogs over the years, from Brandy Partridge to Rinty. Dougie is survived by his brothers, Frankie, Tommy and Tony, sisters, Phyllis, Helen, Anne, Maureen and Dorothy and his many neices and nephews. He was pre-deceased by his parents, Billy (1988), Molly (2006) and his sister, Betty (1992). Dougie will always be fondly remembered in Micheál MacCraith GAA Club and his family can be justifiably proud of his enormous achievements. May the Lord have mercy on his gentle soul. Ní beidh a leithid ann aris.

Michael Crowley,
26 Nov 2012, 13:20