TV icon Derek Davis' ‘Wonderful World’ recalled with love

Television personality Derek Davis' funeral at the Victorian Chapel in Mount Jerome Cemetery, Dublin.Pictures: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

The Derek Davis remembered at his funeral service in Dublin was a big man in so many other ways than the obvious.

Family and friends spoke with tears and laughter of the former RTÉ presenter’s big heart, his huge zest for life, and his capacity for humour that defied dimensions.

His son, Colm, the middle of his three boys, recalled how his dad, famed for culinary prowess that far exceeded that of his beloved wife, Una, had given her a cookery book as a wedding present with the inscription: “To Una, with hope.”

That wit formed the soundtrack to the brothers’ upbringing which was never less than colourful because of Derek’s part in it.

“Growing up, I was extremely proud to be Derek’s son — most of the time,” Colm said, recalling his dad’s star turn as MC of the Rose of Tralee and other high profile events.

READ MORE: This much I know: Derek Davis .

“In the 1980s, he was the proud owner of several suit jackets which could only be safely observed through a welding mask.”

TV icon Derek Davis' ‘Wonderful World’ recalled with love

Kevin Bakhurst and Glen Killane

at the service.

The civil service held in the Victorian Chapel at Mount Jerome Crematorium featured many maritime references, reflecting Derek’s love of the sea and angling.

The finishing touches to the paintwork on his fishing boat were applied just this past week, his close friend and colleague, RTÉ producer Conor Kavanagh said.

It was a measure of the suddenness of his loss. The 67-year-old took ill on Sunday last week, shortly after finishing a series of interviews about the dramatic weight loss he’d achieved after a lifelong battle with over-eating. He died just three days later.

Una, his wife of 40 years, led the mourners along with the couple’s three sons, Michael, Colm, and Seán; Michael’s wife, Georgina, and their son, Mikey Derek, whose birth last year Derek had credited with prompting what he hoped would be life-saving weight loss.

TV icon Derek Davis' ‘Wonderful World’ recalled with love

Derek’s wife Una, left, and former television co-host Thelma

Mansfield at the funeral.

TV icon Derek Davis' ‘Wonderful World’ recalled with love

Sil Fox and Gay Byrne among the mourners.

They were joined by many friends, among them Gay Byrne, Thelma Mansfield, Des Cahill, Tom McGurk, Charlie Bird, Fr Brian D’Arcy, managing director of RTÉ television Glen Killane, and deputy director general of RTÉ Kevin Bakhurst.

President Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach Enda Kenny were represented by their aides de camp.

Derek’s son, Michael, said in tribute: “I could not have asked for a greater father, a better teacher or a more reliable friend and I could not be prouder to be your son.”

On arrival to the chapel, a barbershop quartet had sung a version of Louis Armstrong’s ‘Wonderful World’, one of Derek’s favourites, and celebrant Padraic Cawley urged the gathering to try to remember the happy times.

“Think of the hopes that Derek would have for you. Grief and sorrow is just one way of showing that you miss him and it’s ok to miss someone you love, but smile too because that is a much better way to remember him,” said Mr Cawley.

READ MORE: This much I know: Derek Davis .


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