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Thursday 8 December 2016

RTE legend Derek Davis fondly remembered as storyteller who loved life

Funeral of Derek Davis
Funeral of Derek Davis
The remains are carried into the chapel pictured at the funeral of former broadcaster, Derek Davis who died last week.
Former RTE Newsreader Anne Doyle attending the funeral mass of Derek Davis at the Victorian Chapel Mount Jerome.
Former Miss Ireland Olivia Tracey attending the funeral mass of Derek Davis at the Victorian Chapel Mount Jerome.
Syl Fox and Olivia Tracey attending the funeral mass of Derek Davis at the Victorian Chapel Mount Jerome.
Former co-presenter Thelma Mansfield comforts Una Davis, wife of Derek Davis at the Victorian Chapel Mount Jerome.
Derek Davis' wife, Una and his three sons, Michael, Colm and Sean.
Derek Davis
Gay Byrne attending the funeral mass of Derek Davis at the Victorian Chapel Mount Jerome.

Broadcaster Derek Davis was remembered as a "garrulous storyteller" who loved life, his family "and the excitement of a tight line" at his funeral in Dublin.

Hundreds of mourners piled into Victorian Chapel, Mount Jerome Crematorium in Harold's Cross yesterday to pay their final respects to the broadcaster and keen angler.

Former Live at Three co-host Thelma Mansfield, Gay Byrne, Derry and Sally Anne Clarke, Charlie Bird, Anne Doyle, Bobby Kerr and Tom McGurk all attended the emotional service.

FIERCE

President Michael D Higgins was represented by his Aide de Camp, Lieutenant Commander Patricia Butler, and Taoiseach Enda Kenny was represented by Commandant Kieran Carey.

"It's a fierce crowd," a fellow Queens College alumni noted. "There's hardly any room on the steps outside."

An a capella version of Louis Armstrong's What a Wonderful World played as Davis' coffin was carried through the doors of the church by his three sons - Michael, Colm and Sean.

"In the final chapter, dad was at his absolute best," Michael Davis said.

"He didn't leave anything undone, he had a new lease of life ... I could not have asked for a greater father, a better teacher or a more reliable friend.

"I could not be prouder to be his son."

During the ceremony, friends and family members recalled Davis' razor sharp wit, his gift for storytelling, and his questionable taste in suit jackets.

"You could only look at some of those jackets through a welding mask," Davis' son Colm said.

Davis died suddenly following a stroke last Wednesday leaving his family "reeling in bewilderment" as their lives were "jerked out of control".

However, mourners were reminded of Michel de Montaigne's words: "The value of life lies not in the length of days, but in the use we make of them."

Prior to his death, Davis advised his sons to mourn his death for "an hour, maybe a day" then to "go for a pint".

The funeral service was punctuated with some of Davis' favourite songs including Raglan Road and The Parting Glass.

Managing Director of RTE Glen Killane described Davis as one of the "most popular men in RTE".

"The sense of shock around the station is palpable," he said.

"He was hugely entertaining and had a wonderful turn of phrase. He grabbed life by the scruff of the neck and lives every day. He was a hugely talented broadcaster."

Mr Davis is best known for co-hosting RTE's Live at Three and the televised Rose of Tralee Selections in 1995 and 1996.

His latest appearance on television was in Celebrity Bainisteoir in 2008, when he coached Glasdrumman to victory.

As a mark of respect Glasdrumman brought the trophy Davis helped them secure to the funeral. His former producer at RTÉ, Conor Kavanagh, recalled travelling around Ireland with him in 2002.

"He was a man you'd call on if you were in a tight spot. He almost always had a thoughtful answer, and a kind word," he said.

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