George Keenan turned his hand to many things during his 85 years, mourners heard at his funeral.
At Requiem Mass at St Teresa’s church on Glen Road last Friday, Parish Priest Fr Gabriel Lyons – in a tribute that always-joking Geordie himself would have appreciated – said: “Geordie was a butcher, a baker but, sadly, not a candlestick maker.”
Geordie died peacefully on Tuesday June 8 at Glenalina Lodge Care Home. Born in 1936 in the Market area, he married Kathleen Boyle in 1957 and eventually settled in Ramoan Gardens in Andersonstown. They enjoyed 42 happy years and raised five children together until Kathleen sadly died prematurely in 2000.
Fr Lyons said: “Geordie wasn’t perfect, he was a terrible slegger, nobody and I mean nobody was safe from his sharp wit.
“He had many jobs in his lifetime. Sometimes he had two jobs to help support his family.
“He was a window cleaner, a civil servant, a stage manager at the Grand Opera House (as he never tired of telling people) – Geordie Opera House as he was affectionately known. A friend to the stars – he knew them all, and he loved to tell stories about the stars he met Laurel and Hardy, Roy Orbison to mention a few.
“Geordie was also a self appointed part-time compere, stand-up comedian, singer and all-round entertainer at St Paul’s – and anywhere else that would let him have a microphone.
“Geordie enjoyed life and lived it to the full. He loved the annual Andytown trek to Ballyhornan where he enjoyed holidays with his young family and friends.
“Later he liked to travel and one of his favourite places was Scotland. Beautiful scenery – no foreign food and plenty of sausages. As he used to say, ‘I wouldn’t go anywhere that didn’t offer sausages.’
“After Kathleen’s death he also invested considerable time and used his own experiences to counsel and try to help people with problems.
“His time at the Opera House had given him a love of music and he enjoyed going to the theatre to see concerts and plays.
“One of his favourite pastimes was sitting in the back garden, sunglasses on, in the sunshine listening to music.
“It’s ironic that he was listening to one of his favourites – André Rieu – when he passed away.”
George spent the last three years of his life in Glenalina Lodge Care Home where he received excellent care and support from the staff, and the family passed on their gratitude for the attention he received and were pleased he was able to spend his last days where he was fondly loved.
Fr Lyons added: “Geordie, like us all, wasn’t perfect – he was just Geordie – always up for a good laugh – not a bad bone in his body. He will be sadly missed by all his family and friends. We will all miss his humour.”
George was buried with Kathleen in the City Cemetery. He is survived by his five children – Tricia, Joe, Geordie, Catherine and Anthony – and 12 grandchildren.