Tribute to the late Michael Healy.
On the late evening of the 14th and the morning of the 15th of January shock waves were experienced in many homes as news spread that Michael Healy was seriously ill. It was all the more shocking because the Michael that we knew was the picture of health, on top of his work and in his usual good form. Those days of the third week of January will forever be etched in the memories of Michael's family his neighbours and friends and the teachers, pupils and people of Bohola. On Saturday the 19th January, at around noon, Michael's family gently let him go; with a deep faith and great dignity they gently handed Michael back to his creator. To borrow an idea from the game of football, which Michael loved - the manager called ashore the Captain in the middle of the match in which Michael was playing a true Captain's part. It did not seem to make sense and it was greeted with disbelief. Even now we find it so difficult to come to terms with our loss.
Michael was appointed to Bohola NS in September 1981 and taught in one of the 'prefabs' at the back of the church. With him on the staff were the Principal Michael Doyle, and Marie Conlon and Anne Gavigan. In 1987 the new school was opened and in 1996 Michael Doyle retired as principal. Michael Healy became principal and Áine Henry joined the teaching staff.
In school Michael created a lovely, warm atmosphere. He was an inspiration to his colleagues and radiated peace, calm and serenity. Michael, indeed, had many excellent qualities, which we have all experienced in different ways. He had a sharp intellect and he saw primary education as the all round development of the individual child. He was a skilled educator in that he was able to see the talents, sometimes hidden in the pupil and was able to draw out those talents and help the child develop them and so prepared his pupils well for secondary education and indeed for life. Michael realised that to be a good teacher he had to continue to learn. He was continually improving his own skills. This is so evident in the amount of time and work he put into doing extra courses and teaching himself so that he would be up to date on everything new that came on the market. In the classroom Michael was a skilled teacher and a fine disciplinarian. He had a great sense of justice and fair play and this was so evident on the football field. He taught the pupils how to win fairly and always to be gracious in defeat. In his dealings with parents he was always approachable, sincere and honest. He wished the best for the pupils and saw teaching as a team effort - home and school.
Michael was a man of pleasant manner, possessing a fine sense of humour and besides being a skilled teacher, he was an excellent artist. He had a great love of the Irish language and culture but never pushed it at anybody. He was a man of deep Christian faith and this was the foundation stone of all that he did. His love of god, family and neighbour shone out.
Without doubt Michael was a great gift to our school. His light has shone brightly wherever he has been. Over the years he has lit the light in the hearts of his pupils and today that light is bearing its fruit not only in Ireland but also, in many parts of the world and will continue to do so for many years to come. On the journey of life, that we are all on, every so often we are privileged to meet and journey with, for a time, somebody very special. We have been privileged to have met Michael and to have been touched by his life.
Above all Michael was an outstanding family man. He was a truly wonderful husband and father. We will miss Michael greatly in Bohola but we can only begin to imagine the great sadness and sense of loss his family are experiencing. The Board of Management, Staff, Pupils, parents and indeed the whole community of Bohola extend our sincerest sympathy to Michael's wife, Pat, to his children Sinéad, Darragh, Gráinne, and Michéal, to his mother Agnes, his brothers and sisters and all his relatives and extended family. The love of God is reflected in good people. Michael, in his life, reflected and radiated that love in a very special way. We thank God for the gift of Michael and pray that his vision of life and his many fine qualities may help to ease our sadness and continue and inspire us.