Thursday, 7 January 2010

DEATH OF PAUL MALONE

of
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Paul Malone,
.
died, January 2010
.I learned today with sadness of the death of Paul Malone, who was an active and enthusiastic member of the early Charismatic movement here in Limerick during the 1970’s. I knew Paul from countless conversations in the Christian bookshop and at various street corners where he was a regular sight as he strolled through the city. Paul had an encyclopedic knowledge of Limerick and he told many a story of its past and the prominent role played by the Catholic church over the years. He had, as a young man studied to be a monk at nearby Glenstal Abbey but did not complete the training as he found the constraints of ‘religious’ life intolerable. He also recalled a stint in the British army and he served in Africa and other foreign parts which opened him up to a world outside the narrow confines of a conservative provincial city.
All his life Paul was a great reader and he had the ability to remember in detail everything he read making him a formidable opponent in any debate. Along the way Paul read the Bible which changed his life forever, leading him to involvement with the fledgling Catholic Charismatic movement and later with a local Pentecostal group. Sadly Paul never felt inclined to commit his rich repository of knowledge to writing and so this legacy has gone with the man.
I recall being in town one afternoon with my friend Tony Ryan and we met Paul who was homeward bound, stopping to chat it wasn’t long before he began to quote from one of his favourite Christian writers, Finis Jennings Dake. As we were about to part Paul extended the invitation to walk home with him to see his library, a proposal to which we both gladly acceded , relishing the prospect of seeing this voracious reader’s book collection. Bringing us upstairs Paul waved his hand towards a solitary bookshelf which held about 10 volumes, saying, " this, gentlemen is my library ". Seeing our underwhelment he explained that he had a policy of passing a book on after he had read it , so the depleted shelves. On another occasion I was at a wedding reception in company with Paul and his wife as the band struck up for a waltz. Throughout the opening bars of the music Paul sat there explaining rather uniquely, " both my wife and I love to dance, but never with each other " Later he proved the point by dancing with practically every other woman in the hall but not his wife, and she did likewise!
In later years Paul’s health deteriorated and over time sadly I lost contact with him. He was one of those people who figure larger than life in memory, with his crisp rhetorical flourishes, his photographic recall of information and his contagious enthusiasm for the Scriptures. Paul never pretended the Christian way was an easy one and he was open about his own personal struggles, but he always conveyed an excitement and intellectual curiosity about every aspect of the faith and spirituality in general.
It was always a joy and an education to meet Paul Malone and listen as he explored an aspect of the Scripture or shared nuggets from the latest book he was reading. A street walk through Limerick is all the poorer for his passing and the city has lost one of its most erudite and colourful sons. Paul is survived by his wife Anna, and sons Paul and Brian.

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Gerard O'Shea

10 comments:

Deirdre said...

Sorry that was meant to say sorry to hear about the death of your friend, the cold is affecting my head as well as my fingers.

Dew of Hermon said...

Thanks Deirdre. I'll delete the earlier 'fragment'

Gerry

Anonymous said...

hi. im pauls son bryan.im living in new zealand and was unable to make it home for the funeral. i googled pauls name and came across ur piece. thank you for saying such kind words. it brings a tear to my eyes. he was an amazing man. bryan t malone...

Dew of Hermon said...

Bryan,
Good to hear from you and condolences on the passing of your dad. Paul was truly a great man and an inspiration to me and so many others I know. He had a unique capacity to communicate even the most esoteric of subjects in a way that was both compelling and understandable.I often sat, riveted to every word as he explained a passage from the Bible or recalled a period of history.He was at his most engaging as he told his own story of a rich and colourful life. He has now, like his New Tstament namesake finished the race and is present with his Lord.(2 Timothy 4:7)
Gerry

Tony said...

I was sorry to hear that Paul Malone passed away. It was always a delight to meet him and listen to his stories about the various adventures he experienced throughout his life. I have no doubt that this world is all the poorer without him and that heaven has just filled a vacancy. My sympathies are with his family at this sad time.

Leonardo de la Paor said...

YO Gerry,

Thanks for telling me Paul was dead! As you know I live in the North Pole & get very few visitors or messages. Aidan & I gave great time to Paul. Its funny how people forget! You would think I never knew Paul, but week after week I used to meet him in Aidan's house. Paddy used to be there too.

I will not say any more!

Dew of Hermon said...

Sorry Philip but I only heard of Paul's death after his burial and I posted the blog almost straight away as the easiest way to let anyone who may not have heard know. I know Paul was a regular visitor to Aidan's house, and he enjoyed the conversations with Aidan and yourself.

Leonardo de la Paor said...

Gerry,

Thank you!

Leonardo

pol said...

Hello Gerry, I am Paul Malone's son (also Paul) and both my mother & I wanted to thank you for this lovely piece you wrote about Dad. We were really touched by your heartfelt words, they meant a lot to us, more than my few words can express. Our best wishes, Paul & Anna

Dew of Hermon said...

Paul,
Your father was a man of extrordinary gift and ability and he shared his knowledge freely with anyone prepared to listen. I was often a recepient of Pauls good humour and graciousness, he will never be forgotten. My thoughts are with you and your mother at this time,
Gerry