Tom was born in Ballycotton, Co Cork on August 17, 1923, the eldest of seven children born to William SMIDDY and Nora (nee KENEFICK) Ballybraher, Ballycotton.
He attended the local national school and was subsequently enrolled as a boarder in St Colman's College, Fermoy.
It was here that he developed his twin loves of sport and scholarship, endowments he was to sustain and nurture throughout his life.
In St Colman's Tom developed a lifelong love of reading and an enduring appreciation of Latin and Greek. An avid reader, he read everything from history, politics, and astronomy to the latest Pulitzer Prize winning novel.
In his last few weeks, he was still to be found supplementing his failing eye sight with a magnifying glass pouring over a biog- raphy of newly elected USA president Barrack Obama.
As a young sportsman he won medals for running and he played as full back on the St Colman's hurling team. Later as a qualified doctor practicing in Warrington, Cheshire, England he became a keen follower of Rugby League and also turned his hand to golf, holding the position of captain of the Manchester Wild Geese Golf Society.
Upon his appointment as General Practitioner in Ballyduff, County Kerry, he continued to play golf in his leisure time, becoming a prominent member of the nearby Ballybunion Golf Club. However despite his widening interest in a variety of sporting activities Tom remained true to his GAA roots and was a loyal supporter of both the Ballyduff and Kerry hurling teams.
When mobility became a problem he doggedly indulged his love of sport via television, in particular following horse racing events, getting immense satisfaction as his chosen horse romped home and bets were duly rewarded with a win!
An exceptionally bright student Tom matriculated at the early age of seventeen, entering UCC as a medical student and qualifying as a medical doctor in 1948. Tom's first medical post was in Ashington Under Lyne, Yorkshire, where he attended the coal miners.
He subsequently took up a post as General Practioner in Warrington where he met his future wife Evangeline. In 1975 Tom was appointed as General Practioner to Ballyduff where both himself and Evang ran a successful practice until their retirement in 1994.
Although medicine was his chosen profession he retained a deep interest in literature including an abiding love of the Greek and Latin languages, history and poetry.
In his 86th year, Tom was still apt to entertain family and friends by quoting verbatim from verses he had learned in his youth, holding a particular love of Keats' soulful 'Ode to a Nightingale'.
Although Tom loved to socialise he remained, in essence, a family man who loved to return to his Ballycotton roots, to see his siblings and extended family. He always had time for 'his girls', their husbands and grandchildren drawing on his vast store of knowledge to dispense words of wisdom. and advice.
Advice all, the more valuable because he resolutely kept his finger on the pulse of current affairs, devouring the daily and local newspa- pers, keeping abreast with the news events at home and abroad up to the very end.
As his friend and brother-in-law Fr Leo Morahan noted during Tom's Funeral Mass his greatest and most memorable gift was his 'Joie de Vivre'. But every day was a gift to this multi-faceted man, who in addition to his pursuit of all things intellectual also took immense pleasure in the simple things of life.
The farmer in him evident in his great love of nature, he especially loved watching birds feeding in his garden, calling on his vast store of knowledge to identify various species.
It has been noted that in addition to his love of life, Tom's greatest passion was in fact 'people'. Tom was everybody's friend. To paraphrase Kipling he could indeed 'walk with Kings' but never lost 'the common touch' carrying this philosophy of living life to the full throughout his illness up to and including the very end, fighting physical discomfort, striving to remain with his loved ones, until his merciful relief from pain.
The large attendance at his funeral included many former patients. Local medics and Ballyduff GAA formed a guard of honour, accompanying their friend and colleague on the last journey from his old surgery in Ratoo to St Peter and Paul's Church.
And although 'our heart aches' at his passing, his loving family and many friends may take immense comfort that Tom, at rest in Ballyduff graveyard, is now at peace finally released, from all 'the weariness, the fever and the fret'.
Tom is survived and sadly missed by his loving wife, Evang and his five daughters, Anne, Mary Gabriel, Paddie, Siobhan and Mairead.
'Non nobis solum sed toti
Courtesy of The Kerryman 29/7/2009
112. William SMIDDY, (38. Thomas 6, 15. Timothy 5, 10.Thomas 4, 5.Timothy 3, 2. Thomas 2, 1. John 1) b. 1886, Ballybraher, Ballycotton, d. 1959, Ballybraher, Ballycotton. They lived in Ballybraher near Ballycotton. Committee member Imokilly Co-op Creamery from the 1930's to 1950. (First cousin of my Grand Father William 'Bill' SMIDDY).
He married Nora KENEFICK, c 1922, b. c 1893, d. Ballybraher, Ballycotton.
+185. i. Dr. Thomas William SMIDDY, (1923 - July 14th 2009) m Evangeline MORAHAN.
They have five daughters, Anne, Mary Gabriel, Paddie, Siobhan and Mairead.