The sudden death of Jack Acheson on April 28 saw an irreplaceable piece of Clonmel Town soccer club chipped away and the wider football community lost more than it can afford to lose.
Jack Acheson was a gentleman who emanated presence, substance, character and kindness. His life was gentle - two minutes in his company made you realise just how gentle he was.
His appearance fitted the weight of his personality with powerful shoulders, a large youthful face dominated by a wonderful smile and an infectious laugh.
Born and raised just across the Suir in County Waterford, he never forgot his roots. A proud Waterford man, his unshakable loyalty to Clonmel Town FC was mirrored by his love for his native county. He was also proud of his time as a player with the now defunct Valley Rovers. He worked for over 40 years with Ronan’s.
We in Clonmel Town Football Club think of ourselves as a family and all of us feel that we have lost one of our most beloved family members. Our club is in existence for over 50 years. We have been very fortunate to have enjoyed many great days both on and off the field. None of these days would have been possible were it not for the huge contribution that Jack made to the history of the club. Throughout all those years he maintained an unshakable allegiance to Clonmel Town. The fantastic facilities that many teams enjoy today in the Dr. Pat O’Callaghan Sports Complex would not be possible if it wasn’t for people like Jack Acheson.
Jack was also a giver. He gave more to our club and to his community than he ever took. The contribution for over 40 years that Jack made to the welfare of not only Clonmel Town Football Club but to many people in his community cannot be overstated. Jack was the embodiment of that older, better code where you tried to make the lives of your neighbour and your community better. He had a proper understanding of what a sense of community actually meant. Jack’s only concern was for the welfare of his family, friends and neighbours, the club he loved, the players, his fellow members and the Complex.
The Complex was his second home. He guarded it and took care of it like his home in Bianconi Drive. Nothing was a problem, No was never an answer. He was first to arrive and last to leave. He had a kind word for all of us, our players, the opposition players, our supporters and the referees. In truth anyone that came through the gate was made to feel welcome.
The Saturday before his passing he celebrated Clonmel Town’s wonderful victory in the Munster Youth Cup final played at Cooke Park. It was a triumph that gave him immense satisfaction. He also derived great joy from the fact that this victory was achieved with the kind of creative football that he had always believed was the true currency.
His commitment to a warm sense of family both in his private life and at this great club is one of his legacies. He was a respected and listened to voice in our club, a voice whose whisper was worth more than the shouts of others. Players young and old only heard a voice of comfort and encouragement. He had a gift of making all who came in contact with him feel they mattered. He had a natural respect for other people’s feelings.
The pain of his death will dig deepest into the heart of his lovely family. They will find some comfort and solace with the knowledge that Jack was loved and respected in equal measure by everyone who knew him.
Everyone in Clonmel Town Football club offers their most heartfelt condolences to Jack’s wife Angela, children Barry, Tony and Breda; his grandchildren Conor, Alan, Christopher and Thomas and his brother Billy on the loss of their husband, father, grandad, brother and friend.
Jack Acheson, family man, football man, a special man.
Rest in Peace.
- Muiris Walsh