© 2021 www.dunmoreeast.net. All rights reserved Last updated 26 December 2021
Made with Xara
Dunmore East is a small fishing village on
the south-east coast of Ireland, 16kms from
the city of Waterford.
It sits on the western side of the Waterford
Harbour Estuary, 4.8kms from Hook Head in
Dunmore East, Co. Waterford,
Words from his sister Netti
Fran was born in England but came to Kiltorcan House Farm in Ballyhale at the age of three,
where he had a very active life, with the highlight of every year being his firework birthday
party, where people came from far and wide and filled the paddocks to watch our father's
Fran had a wonderful childhood, with every summer spent in Dunmore East swimming,
sailing and enjoying endless amusements with his many friends.
Highlights were days spent on Stoneycove and his first solo
swim to Goosey Rock; I still remember his shout of delight.
As teenagers we left Ballyhale and moved permanently to
Dunmore, where Fran helped his father set up a boat
rental/repairs business (including the purchase of a red
speedboat which was the love of his life and made him the
most popular boy in Dunmore!). He was so proud and happy.
Many of his friends today were peers of those years, including
his wife Jo.
Fran then left Ireland for Cheshire, where with a school friend he set up a transport company,
transporting various commodities around England including Cornflakes and “Our Dogs”
magazine. On occasions when I visited Fran, I was transported around in a very smart and
elderly sports car, which was always breaking down (much to his delight as he loved tinkering
with engines and had hours of fun covered in grease). His years in England came to an end
when they decided to sell the business.
Fran suggested a round-the-world trip. He had done the research! We only needed £750 for
the ticket and a dollar a day as professed by the books he had. Typically, without further
thought I jumped at the offer so off we went for 9 months. We travelled through Africa,
Seyschelles, Sri Lanka and South East Asia to Australia, mostly by land; highlights included
being attacked by a giraffe, getting stuck half way up Sygria, being bitten by ants, falling off a
bicycle, trekking with a Hill Tribe, nearly dying of some mystery virus on Kosamui, and
meeting and embracing wonderful exotic people and their lives. We finally arrived in
Australia, where he spent the next 12 happy years.
Landing in Darwin, where we met up with our sister Gena and stayed on a 16.5 thousand
acre cattle ranch where Gena had set up a melon farm and was living in a shack. Fran set to
turning her three-walled shack into a cement floored 4-walled house/shack! We had such fun
doing it. We then left to drive around Australia in a very old Holden station wagon, which
constantly broke down in weird little settlements where many new friends were made, and
Fran became Frank as Fran was a sheila's name!
Eventually, Fran settled down on Heron Island on the Great Barrier Reef, where he spent
many years as maintenance manager and was very proud of his desalination plant, which
created fresh drinking water from sea water. When he asked his horrible sisters what we
thought of it, we looked at each other and said awful; his response was it must need
adjustment and rushed off to spend another happy hour making it taste great!
Fran's love of children started in Australia, where he became surrogate uncle to our friends'
children (who were all under 6); he spent many happy hours creating sand castles, dams and
playing in the sea. He never got bored and was usually dragged away for a beer.
Fran loved to tinker with machines and was introduced to computers on Heron, where this
great love of his commenced. He set up a whole administration system for the island and
monitored his water consumption on one of the original computers. He luckily was able to use
this love to help people both in Australia and Ireland.
In 1993, we both came back to Ireland, and Fran sadly to take over Dad's business when he
died suddenly. Since then he has worked very happily with the South and East Fisherman's
Coop and has been Dunmore's oil man, becomeing an integral part of the fishing community.
Since returning to Ireland Fran has married the love of his life Jo Teesdale and adopted her
son Alex as his own. Much to my amusement, when asked “how are you” his response was
always ” fine and Alex or Jo has …..” He was so proud of them both.
I have been told many anecdotes about Fran and how he touched so many lives, but I
suppose the most touching were from Alex's friends who were also friends of Fran, which is
unusual in a Dad.
Fran was a larger than life personality; his laughter or voice would echo around the harbour.
After the tall ships' race where he and John Colfer guided the visiting tall ships up river, he
could be heard from the cliffs shouting joyously “follow me”; one of this happiest days!
His happiness with Jo and Alex shone from his face; his love of Dunmore and all his many
friends from all walks of life was remarkable, yet his family saw him as just dependable Fran,
our mainstay, our Mr Fixit. I don't think Fran saw himself as anything very special; his many
achievements were unsung, especially his last and greatest: reaching the top level in “War of
the Worlds” computer game, which was incredible and rarely achieved world wide.
These are just a few highlights of Fran's remarkable and far-too-short life. He will be sorely
missed by his friends and family.