Tracton Colossus’ Untimely Passing
Writes JJ Hurley
The untimely death of Mylie (Michael) Collins, Tracton, last week cast a long shadow right across the South County.
A man who earned huge respect from his peers for his selfless commitment to his community, the many tributes were led by the current Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney.
Mr Coveney said, 'Mylie was a man of enormous intellect, with considerable knowledge, an institution within the Parish, and he'll be sadly missed.'
For many, the Parish of Tracton owes a debt of gratitude to Mylie, nowhere more apparent than the Tracton Arts and Community Centre. Mylie had the foresight to rescue the former school from a dilapidated state in 2005, now the envy of communities across the country.
Canon George Murphy acknowledged this achievement during his funeral mass, stating, 'One man did not build the centre, but it would not have been built but only for one man.' A Tracton man to the core, Mylie had lent his administrative skills to the Carrigdhoun GAA Divisional Board, holding two senior appointments on the officer board as Secretary and Vice-Chairman.
Former Chairman of the South East Divisional Board, John Twomey, said of the Tracton man, 'Mylie always commanded great respect. 'He would always think through an issue before giving his considered opinion.'
Describing his time on the board as innovative, Mr Twomey pointed to creating inter-divisional leagues as evidence of this policy. During this tenure, Mylie regularly reported on the division's activities in the media, with clear and concise articles. With skills, he'd acquired in pursuing an Honours Arts Degree in UCC in the evenings.
He also brought this talent to his home parish. The monthly Tracton News Sheet, which he co-founded, appeared first in 1978. It continues to be an essential asset to the district, recording the news and telling the parish's history, a subject Mylie was well-versed in.
As the postman for 37 years in the South County Parish, he was ideally placed to report for the news sheet, but it also encouraged him to care deeply for his fellow residents, founding a local Chapter of St Vincent de Paul in 1987.
In 2007, his work was acknowledged by the charity, with a certificate for 30 years of unbroken service, work he continued right up to his death. Like many passing through life, he encountered his share of loss with his wife Catherine and daughter, Evelyn, who died tragically in a car accident in 1995.
In later years, Mylie rediscovered happiness with Eileen, and both were instrumental in promoting the arts scene, now so interwoven with Tracton's community. Despite his commitment to the community, Mylie pursued a personal passion: Question Times, even as far as making an appearance on Mastermind.
The pursuit was not maybe at all surprising, considering his own evident love of learning. Mylie's sudden untimely departure is a considerable loss but as Brigid Twomey, Chairperson of the Tracton Community Council, remarked,' Mylie enriched the lives of so many people over the years. 'He was a leading light to so many organisations who benefitted from his vision and idealism.’