Death Of Tribune's Former Owner

Thursday, 6 April 2017

ARNOLD Fanning, Wilmer Villas, Birr, was a man of many interests and talents who, as managing director of The Midland Tribune, brought the company to its greatest flourishing.

A large congregation attended his Funeral Mass at St Brendan's Church, Birr, on Sunday April 2nd for a lovely service on a beautiful day.

 There were a couple of happy coincidences about the timing of Arnold's passing and the subsequent Funeral Mass. The allotted Gospel reading for the day was about the dramatic story of Lazarus' rising from the dead, as apt a Gospel reading for the occasion as could be wished. 

 Easter is also just around the corner with its celebratory focus on resurrection and life after death.

Another happy coincidence was the excellent weather. On the long walk up the hill to Clonoghill cemetery and in the cemetery itself, with its atmospheric yew trees and crow-cries, Spring and rebirth was a very strong presence.

All of these coincidences gave succour and hope to the many grieving family members and friends.

In his eulogy at the beginning of the mass Arnold's son Derek thanked everyone who came to the funeral. 'You are very welcome and we are very glad to see you. If you have travelled from afar - thank you so much for making the effort, not an easy task in our busy lives.'

Arnold passed away peacefully on Tuesday evening March 28th in the wonderful care of the doctors and nurses of Galway Clinic, after a three month illness which he bore with great fortitude. From his hospital bed he enjoyed a very fine view of Galway Bay and the Burren.

Arnold was born on May 5th, 1942, the son of James and Isabelle Fanning, who were proprietors of The Midland Tribune and passed on their love of theatre and the arts to their son.

He attended Blackrock College, a school which he held affection for throughout his life, and studied law in UCD.

In his adult years Arnold was a man of many talents and many interests. He loved Law and practised as a Barrister for a number of years until he returned to Birr and took over as the Manager of the Midland Tribune group. During his time the Midland Tribune company expanded considerably, growing to four local newspapers including the Midland and Tullamore Tribunes, Roscommon Champion and Longford News, and printing several local and national newspapers.

He loved history, rugby, tennis, golf, chess and bridge. He was very talented at tennis, chess and bridge. 

He had a great interest in rugby and was a regular attender at games local and national. He served for a time as President of Birr RFC and members of the Birr Club formed a Guard of Honour at his Funeral on Sunday.

'In my teenage years,' Derek recalled in his eulogy, 'I played him many times in tennis and chess and never won. In tennis he had an explosive serve and in chess he knew by heart many of the moves of the grandmasters. He was also known for being extremely knowledgeable in Bridge.

'He loved sailing as well and I have very fond memories of being on his motorboat with him on Lough Derg and the Mediterranean.

'When he sailed his motorboat from Ireland down to the Mediterranean he told me that he encountered ferociously rough sea conditions with exceptionally high waves.

'I never saw Dad get seasick. Everyone else would be as sick as a dog and he would be fine.

'He loved literature and often quoted Oscar Wilde and Shakespeare. He was an admirer of the writings of Ernest Hemingway, so much so that he nearly took part in the Pamplona Bull Run but something else came up.

'Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.'

 Arnold's son James read the first reading which was from the Prophet Ezekiel with its words, 'I am now going to open your graves; I mean to raise you from your graves, my people, and lead you back to the soil of Israel.'

 Arnold's son Jonathan read the second reading, from Isaiah - 'And he will destroy on this mountain the shroud that is cast over all peoples, the sheet that is spread over all nations; he will swallow up death forever.'

Arnold's grandson Jack read the Prayers of the Faithful: 'In baptism Arnold received the light of Christ. Scatter the darkness now and lead him over the waters of death.'

At the Presentation of the Gifts, the bread and wine were brought forward by Carol and Rosalind.

 Arnold was the beloved husband of Sheila and loving father of Derek, James and Jonathan.

 He was predeceased by his sister Lorna.

He is sadly missed by his loving family, sister-in-law Carol, daughters-in-law Rosalind, Ann and Rita, grandchildren Jack, Anna, Eleanor and Michael, nephews Aidan and Desmond, niece Suzanne, relatives and friends, to all of whom deepest sympathy is extended.

 The family would like to thank all who supported them in this difficult time. They would like to thank Fr David Carroll and Boyd's Funeral Home for their sensitivity and expertise.

Arnold has now gone to a happier place, a place where he awaits the advent of his loved ones. Requiescat in pace.


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