“Big man, big heart” – the late Larry Graves

by Rose Barrett
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Last week saw the funeral of Larry Graves, late of Swords Manor, writes Rose Barrett. The 64-year-old died suddenly only days after going to hospital for a regular procedure. 

His death came as a complete shock to his wife Ann (SF Councillor for Swords) and their children Paul, David and Christine.

Described by one of his sons, David, at the funeral as a ‘larger than life character’, that was true in every respect as the late Larry was 6’4”. He was also renowned as being full of fun and “We couldn’t get a word in edgeways”.  At the service his son Paul spoke of how proud he was of his father, how he looked up to him and how genuinely proud he was of his father’s work ethos and the comradery he had with his fellow workers.

There was a guard of honour from Swords Express where Larry had worked both as a driver and a coach driver trainer. His wife Ann noted he had affectionately been known as “The Controller!” The late Larry had a long career in the coach transport sector, having also worked for Éirebus and had worked with the UN Crisis Relief  from 1994-1997.

Often a dangerous situation during the Croatian-Serbian war (the break up of Yugoslavia), the late Larry was part of a convoy assisted programme that brought humanitarian aid to the impacted refugees. At one stage, the convoy was trapped behind war lines and the family didn’t have any contact for two weeks.

Ann and Larry’s daughter Christine prepped the memory table that represented his life, with the couple’s seven-year-old grandson Noah bringing up some of the gifts. “Noah was Larry’s pride and joy, the apple of his eye and they were as thick as thieves together!”

The late Larry was also very partial to take-aways, and regularly rang his sons to collect one for him on the way home!

“We just about held it together in the church, but the tears were coming when “Raglan Road” was played during the service,” said Ann. “However, when “Walk On” was played as he left the church, that hit me hard as it was played at our wedding ceremony.”

The couple would be married forty years on Sunday, March 3 next. “We’ve known each other since we were in our teens and we came here to Swords Manor 33 years ago. We were absolutely blown away by the support from neighbours, friends, the management and staff of Swords Express and our SF comrades. The wonderful support from my neighbours and this community was incredible and I will be forever grateful for the kindness and support given to us in recent weeks.”

She continued: “We are thankful to everyone who contacted us, called to the house, came to the wake and funeral. We shed buckets of tears but also had some real laughs as we shared stories of a real legend. Codladh sámh,” she said. ‘There are no goodbyes for us. Wherever you are, you will always be in my heart’ – Mahatma Gandhi.

The late Larry is survived by his wife Ann, daughter Christine, sons David and Paul and his partner Alana, grandson Noah, sister-in-law Mary, extended family, neighbours and a large circle of friends. He reposed at Rock’s Funeral Home with the funeral mass held at St Cronan’s in Brackenstown before his burial at Dardistown Cemetery. The late Larry Graves, may he rest in peace, amen.

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