Obituary: Dr Willis, Oughterard, 1868

Dr Willis' daughter Lilly
Watercolour of Convent by Dr. Robert Willis-Wellpark 1865

This obituary was published by “The Galway Express” Saturday July 18th 1868. It is known that Dr Willis, who was a Medical Officer to Oughterard Dispensary, Workhouse, Troops and Constabulary died at the young age of 32.

“On yesterday evening at nine o’clock, the above named gentleman breathed his last in Galway after an illness of only a few days. He leaves an amiable wife and four young children, to mourn their bereavement. His remains were removed to day at twelve o’clock down to the railway terminus by his old friends from Oughterard as his corpse is to be buried in the family vault, Dublin.

Willis’ Vault – Dublin

The grave has silently closed over the last remains of as kind a friend, as pure a soul and as true an Irishman as ever breathed the breath of life. A few days ago he was all life; to day there is nothing left but his cold image green in our memory.  He was one of those gentle beings whose soul was actuated by all the purest impulses of nature; the poor man’s friend – a friend where e’er he beheld suffering humanity.

Dr Willis’ Respect for Man

He knew none of the formal grades in the social status which men are ever aping after; he always, no matter what his position might be, respected man as man.  His charity was as unbounded as it was unostentatious, and humility, that heavenly borne virtue, was one of the chief characteristics of his soul.  He loved his country with all the intensity of pure affection and natural patriotism, and he gloried in sketching its architectural ruins and ancient grandeur, its ivy clad castles and romantic scenery, some of which are living testimonial of his love of Ireland in the rooms of the Dublin Archaeological Society to day.

Dr Willis – a True Irishman

Everything Irish he loved with all the ardour of a true Irishman, while he fondly revered the old tales of storied Inishfail.  Money he looked on as a necessary evil, and his services, unmoved by pecuniary considerations, were ever at the command of the poor. The old poems and national lyrics of his country were endeared to his by sacred memories, and many were the sweet flowing verses he composed, some of which appeared in some of the Dublin papers, where he might have figured as an eminent writer, had not his modesty directed him otherwise.

Dr Willis – The Architect

Even the drawing sketches for the Archaeological Society were forwarded at the earnest request of Sir William Wilde, and still more with the hope of seeing these mementos of the ancient architecture of the old land fondly preserved. To the people of Oughterard he was attached by a thousand fond memories, and they reciprocated that love and mutual intensity.  The west with all its natural scenery drew out all the finest feelings of his nature, but now he has left forever the people and the land he loved so dearly and so well.

People of Oughterard grieve the loss of a dear friend

People of Oughterard, long, long till ye meet his like again.  Many fond reminiscences shall remain ever entwined round the name and memory of one whom the people felt was entirely and exclusively their own – their own by his choice and their selection, their own by his sweet bewitching manner and native homeliness; their own by all the fondest chords that can unite a sterling friend and a grateful people. Gentle Spirit, peace to thy repose to day; calm be thy slumber, shade of the noble dead; and now, though far removed beyond the region of worldly praise, yet long shall the memory live, and thy name a household word by the Western peasant’s fireside.


Note: Taken from “The Oughterard Newsletter Sept./Oct. 1994”

This page was added on 24/05/2011.

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