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SAD LOSS OF FOUNDING MEMBER JOHN STEVENSON RIP
20 June 2014
Passing of John ‘the jannie’ Stevenson - by Tommy Main
The club is sad to report news of the sudden death of former club member, John Stevenson following a short illness. John was one of the founding members of the club and had involvement with Pearse Harps prior to this.
Although having strong family ties to Co.Kilkenny, John was by no means a diehard GAA man. His involvement with the club came later when his son Mark first donned the green and gold jersey. I first met John around 1990 when he worked as the centre supervisor in the Govanhill Neighbourhood Centre. We were trying to find a place to hold meetings and possibly use as a training venue. John the Jannie,as he was popularly known put us right. John, also pointed out the community education office in the building and advised us that they would give us a grant. Shortly afterwards we got our first grant and had a training venue and meeting place sorted out. It was a few years later before Mark got involved and from then on in John and his wife Ann were confirmed into the Harps’ family. Ann got involved in the management committee, but that wasn’t John’s scene. He didn’t even bother going to games. That would have meant giving up his Sunday shift in the Neighbourhood Centre or his position propping up the bar in Paddy Neesons.
After a few years I ended up working with John in the Centre and it was a match made in heaven. I gave him all the overtime at the weekend as long as he swapped shifts for me to go coaching in the schools or if we had midweek matches. He was a fantastic asset to the club including helping us set up our first “unofficial” office in the Neighbourhood Centre. The club had a small room adjoining our office, which was kitted out with computer, fax machine and phone. A phone line extension cable ran under the door and into a filing cabinet in the main office, which allowed us to conduct club business at all times and hide the phone if any the high heid yins from the cooncill came about the place. Before too long we had installed a fridge and a fully stocked tuck shop for the club which came into operation just as soon as the last of the bosses left the building. More often than not an ‘out of order’ sign would appear on the council run drink dispenser in the foyer and the general public then bought the cans from our fridge. I hasten to add that all proceeds went to the club and not the Neesons social fund.
Talk of the fridge reminded me of another scam we had going in the Neighbourhhod Centre. Football Special is a popular soft drink from Donegal and a after a few club trips there we managed to gather a large amount of empty plastic bottles left behind on the mini bus . John filled them with a mixture of Irn Bru and Tizer and passed them off as Football Specials. We got away with it. Even to the extent of encouraging the children to return their empties.
As I have said John was a not a great GAA man , but his role as a volunteer during that era was second to none. This was recognised by the club when he was accorded the supporter of the year award . John Stevenson was a real character in the club and many of the older and former members will have their own stories to tell of him . Most of these will centre on the social rather than the sporting side of the club. I felt privileged to have know John and his fantastic family. I knew John in what for me was the golden era of the club. It was families like the Stevensons which made our club something really worth being involved in and long may this continue with future generations. The club is only 20 years old but now we add John’s name to that of Ann McCallum, John and Isobel Porter, Patsy Richardson and Norah O’Donnell . All of them gone well before their time and sadly missed.
John is survived by his wife Ann and sons John and Mark. The Funeral service will be held at Linn Crematorium, Lainshaw Drive, on Monday, 23rd June, at 12 noon, to which all family and friends are respectfully invited.