It is with a saddened heart and deep sense of loss that we announce the passing of our long time County Laois Association member and senior statesman, Bill McEvoy. Bill passed away on Wednesday, November 25 at his home in Lake Grove, Long island surrounded by his loving family.
County Laois President, Mike Dunphy, Fran Dumphy and Vice President Larry McEvoy attended the Bill’s wake at Moloney’s Funeral Home in Ronkonkoma on December 1 and wore the Laois sashes in his honor.
We would like to extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to Bill’s family and friends on their deep sense of loss of a great man.
We have been greatly honored and privileged to know Bill for many years and he has continued to be a wonderful inspiration to us all. His many accomplishments will live on in our memories. Since Bill joined the County Laois Association many years ago, he never missed a single St. Patrick’s Day march up Fifth Avenue under the Laois banner. Even this year, Bill fully intended to join us again before the parade was cancelled due to the pandemic. In recent years Bill, already well into his 90s, refused to quit and was helped to march by his grandson, William McEvoy, with the aid of a wheelchair.
We will greatly miss Bill’s presence and enthusiasm in our future St. Patrick’s Day parades.
May He Rest in Peace.
Bill McEvoy Obituary
Date of Death: November 25, 2020
William “Bill” McEvoy – of Lake Grove, NY. Bill passed away peacefully in his home Wednesday, November 25th, at age of 97, surrounded by his loving family. His wife the late Lily predeceased him at age of 92 after sixty-six years of marriage. He is survived by his siblings Mollie Stapleton, Bridie O’Kane and Maggie Duggan, the late Judy Dowling and the late Sean McEvoy. He is the father of nine children, Patrick, Kieran, Margaret, Billy, Joe, Lillian, Colleen, and Kathleen, the late Marian predeceased him in June of 2016. He is the grandfather to twenty five grandchildren, and great grandfather to twenty six great grandchildren. God’s divine hand print can be seen interwoven throughout our parents life. My dad made a decision to quit school at an early age to help provide for his parents. My grandmother spoke a blessing over his life “May God bless you and grant you a long life” indeed that is what God did. My parent’s love of God was instilled in all of us from a young age. We were taught to pray and always acknowledge God in all our decisions. To God be the Glory! Bill McEvoy was born in Kilcoke, Ballybrophy, Co. Laois Ireland, on January 19th 1923, the oldest of six children. Born into a musical family, his father played fiddle and was a renowned singer while his mother played concertina. Bill’s entire life centered on traditional music and Ireland’s Gaelic games(G.A.A). His early days were in Dublin, where he spent much of his free time at the Stonybatter home of Jim Seery, later among the founders of Comhaltas. He also linked up with the late Leo Rowsome and joined the Piper’s Club at 14 Thomas Street, serving as its Runaí in 1947-48.
At this time, Billy met Lily Kelliher from Banemore, Co Kerry, and they were married in Lixnaw, on February 21st,1950. Bill emigrated to America on July 3rd 1954, with his Kerry-born wife, Lily and three small children aboard the S.S Britannic (sister ship of the Titanic). They stood on the deck of that emigrant-ship and watched the distant hills of Kerry slip slowly beneath the horizon and wondered if they would ever see Ireland again. They arrived at Pier 37 New York Harbor on July 10th 1954 and soon settled into America’s way of life. Bill’s family grew from three children to nine and they made their first trip back to Ireland as a family in 1964. Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éirinn approached Billy in 1972 to organize the first CCE Concert Tour of North America to help financially support the founding of Cultúrlann na hÉirinn in Monkstown, Dublin. The concerts grew into an annual event, that contributed to the formation of 40 branches with over 3,600 members of Comhaltas in the USA and Canada. Bill retired as CCE Provincial Chairman for North America in 1997. He maintained his involvement with Comhaltas as Honorary President for Life of Comhaltas North America and as a member of the Ard Comhairle’s Coiste Cheoil and Fleadh sub-committees. Bill was awarded “Laoisman of the year in 1995 and reflected that this night was the “greatest honor of his life”. In 2000 he received Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éirinn’s highest honor Tionól Leo Rowsome for his exceptional contribution to the preservation and promotion of traditional Irish culture. In 2009, he was selected to be part of an exhibition by The Irish Arts Center and the Consulate of Ireland entitled “To Love Two Countries”. He worked his entire life on Long Island as a spackler by day and in the evening worked at the New York Telephone Company, completing thirty years of service without ever missing one day. To date, Bill had made 135 trips home, always returning to Laois, marveling at the green fields and the bird song which he loved. Recently he had remarked that he intended making “one last trip home”, and so, it was with heavy hearts, that we learned that Billy was in the final hours of life. As he passed he was surrounded by his loving family, and by the music and songs that he so loved and cherished so much. He passed to his eternal home to be reunited with his beloved wife Lily and daughter Marian to the strains of“Lovely Laois” in the early hours of Wednesday morning, the 25th of November, two months shy of his 98th Birthday.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis. A leithéid ní bheidh ann arís