GRANDAD Jimmy Devlin left his family and friends with smiles on their faces and hundreds of happy memories.
Just before he died, Mr Devlin, who was 69, told them: “I’ve had a whale of a time.”
He also wanted to make sure his daughter, Michelle, and her seven brothers, and all his grandchildren were well and content, and took the time to thank nurses who cared for him in his final days.
His wife of 24 years, Gill, and his family were with him at their home in Lancaster Drive, Padiham, when he died on Saturday night. Nineteen months earlier doctors had told Mr Devlin he was terminally ill and had very little time as he was not strong enough to cope with any chemo or radiotherapy.
He defied their pessimism, had no side effects from treatment and even drove himself to hospital every day for three weeks for radiotherapy.
Mr Devlin was born in Ireland and came to Padiham as a boy. After leaving school he worked in the haulage industry and was proud of being a Class 1 driver. He and his first wife, Kathleen, who died in 1986, had four children. The size of his family, and his happiness, doubled when he remarried.
Mr Devlin loved to socialise and enjoyed the company of young and old at his favourite pubs in Burnley and Padiham, especially at the Bridge and waving to people passing by.
Said Mrs Devlin: “He was the life and soul of the party and had a lovely singing voice. He would sing at the drop of a hat, especially ‘Little ole wine drinker me’ and Irish rebel songs. He made everybody laugh and always took the time to listen if anyone had problems, but most of all he was devoted to his family.”
The funeral will take place at St John’s, Padiham.
Added Mrs Devlin: “We’ve been overwhelmed by messages and good wishes. So many people knew and liked Jimmy. Anyone who came in contact with him was the better for it. I’ve had messages and emails from all over, even from America, South Africa and Egypt. He had a world of friendship.”