The funeral took place on Friday last of Stephen Harvey (38), who died unexpectedly in Letterkenny University Hospital on Wednesday after a short illness.
Large crowds accompanied the remains back to Killybegs on Wednesday night and attended the wake in his brother's home at Lisnaclaya throughout Thursday. And the town of Killybegs turned out to salute on Friday morning as the funeral cortège made its way to the Church of St Mary of the Visitation for the funeral Mass, celebrated by Fr Colm Ó Gallchóir PP.
Stephen was highly thought of throughout the community for his ever-willing helpful attitude. One of the joys of his life was to lead parades in the town with a siren blaring and a flashing blue light on top of his car.
His presence brought a smile to the faces of all on St Patrick's Days, carnivals and other community events and on the frequent processions in honour of winning local teams.
Rallying was a special love of Stephen's and he was bitterly disappointed during his final illness that he could not be part of the back-up team for the Martin Howley Donegal Harvest Rally which took place in and around Killybegs. A copy of the Rally Programme was signed by many of the drivers and others involved and sent to Stephen, wishing him well and telling him to get better soon.
It was through rallying and their joint love of horses that Stephen and Martin Howley formed a firm friendship which lasted throughout the years. Stephen was particularly hard hit by Martin's death in October 2015.
On the morning of the funeral, the cortège was accompanied by three Garda cars. As the remains passed through the town, businesses closed their doors and many people stood to show their respect.
Organisers of the annual charity bike outing, "Sandra's Run", formed a guard of honour at Elmwood Terrace. At the Tara Hotel, staff provided a guard of honour and, at the entrance to St Mary's church, a guard of honour was provided by colleagues and friends from Gallagher Bros., where Stephen worked for 16 years.
Fr Colm told mourners: "The death of such a good, kind-hearted young man reminds us all how precious live is and how fragile. Stephen was a giver who had so much more to give, but it was not to be", he said.
Speaking at the end of Mass, Stephen's sister, Diane, recalled that he had had many passions in his life, including horses, dogs, lorries, forklifts, rallying and, of course, his baby blue Corolla.
"Stephen's other big passion in life was his job in Gallagher's factory, as a forklift driver. He was never as proud as when he won through to represent Ireland in an international forklift driving competition, sponsored by Northwest Forklifts. Ever since that time, Stephen had a sticker on the back of his forklift, 'GO HARVEY GO'."
She added: "Stephen will be sadly missed by his family and all who loved him. Stephen is flying with the angels now. We will never forget him. Stephen would have been 39 tomorrow. Happy birthday, big brother. Sleep well."
Stephen Harvey is survived by his parents, Kieran and Kathleen, his brothers, Kieran and Derek, and sisters Deirdre, Evelyn and Diane.
If you have a story or want to send a photo or video to us please contact the Donegal Live editorial team any time. To contact Donegal Democrat and Donegal People's Press, email email@example.com To contact Donegal Post, email firstname.lastname@example.org To contact Inish Times, email email@example.com.
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.