08 Aug 2022

OBITUARY: Willie McGee, Bridge of Allen, Stirling, and Derrybeg

A native of Stranacorkra, Willie died on St. Patrick’s Day

OBITUARY: Willie McGee, Bridge of Allen, Stirling, and Derrybeg

The death has taken place of Willie McGee

The death occurred on St. Patrick’s Day of Willie McGee, Bridge of Allen, Stirling, Scotland. Originally from Stranacorkra, Derrybeg he was better known in the locality as Willie Joe Bhilly.
Aged 86 years, he was one of eleven children born to the late Joe Bhilly Chonaill McGee, Stranacorkra and Mary Dhominic née Friel, Lunniagh, Derrybeg. From a young age Willie Joe Bhilly had either a hammer or a saw in his hands.
After leaving Derrybeg National School he went for his carpentry apprenticeship with the well known carpenter, the late Jimmy Bhrianaí Mhanais Boyle of Sheskinbeg.
He spent seven years working at this workplace under the guidance of the hugely talented carpenter, Jimmy Boyle.
At that time before the advent and use of electrical tools, everything was manufactured by hand.
This apprenticeship was a brilliant experience for the young Willie. Everything was manufactured by hand at Jimmy’s workplace ranging from sash windows, doors, donkeys and horse carts, cart wheels, wheelbarrows, to kitchen furniture including dressers, presses, chairs and tables.
Willie met his future wife, Josephine at a dance on St. Patrick’s Day 1957. She hails from the Loughanure area of Annagry and they were married two years later.
They made their home in Stirling where seven children were born to them. The multi-talented Willie who could turn his hand at anything worked hard throughout his entire life.
His daughter, Collette is living in Ontario, Canada and Willed loved to visit her. She is the proprietor of Camp Chikopi in Canada. This is Ontario’s leading boys sports camp which has outstanding great outdoors facilities for boys. This camp began in 1920 and facilities provided there include soccer, swimming, canoeing, triathlon as well as dozens of other land and water sports.
His daughter Collette described him as an amazing dad and added his passing will leave a massive void in their lives. She said whenever her dad saw a need, he stepped in and filled it.
“He may have left us here on earth, but his incredible love and momentous skills have left an indelible footprint on Camp Chikopi,” she added.
She outlined some of the work he had undertaken during his visits to Camp Chikopi: He built the main house porch, and put the bathroom into Mrs. Mann’s Cabin.
He made Sherri and Neil their own private quarters and built the competitive boathouse. He also converted Mrs. Mann's old porch into Teagan's room and constructed a new porch, laid a new floor on the Bilberback Five and Dime, and fabricated the metal dumpster.
“But possibly his most amazing Chikopi feat was Cabin 9. After the huge Oak Tree fell through Cabin 9’s roof, dad used a skill saw to remove and save the "good" end next to Cabin 8.
“After he removed the crushed section, he raised the good end back up and put Cabin 9 back together; it is still standing strong today.”
His Requiem Mass will be celebrated on Monday, March 29 at 11.30am . in St. Mary’s Chapel, Stirling and he will be laid to rest afterwards in St. Thomas’ cemetery, Stirling.
Predeceased by his parents, Joe and Mary McGee, and by his three sisters, Mary Callaghan, Nóra McGee and Nellie McIvor, he is survived by his loving wife, Josephine, sons, John, Joseph, Paul and Kevin, daughters, Moira, Collette and Sharon, adored grand-children, in-laws, five brothers, Dominick (Scotland), Din (Carrick, Derrybeg), Joe (Stramarin), Phil (Sheskinbeg), and Pádraig (Stranacorkra), sisters, Mrs. Margaret Gallagher (Stranacorkra) and Mrs. Teresa McCauley, (Meenacuing), nephews, nieces and extended family, to all of whom deep sympathy is extended.

- Tommy Curran

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