A priest has told mourners at the funeral of Larry Hasson - one of Derry’s best-known businessmen - that he was “like a grandfather to us all. He was, indeed, Derry’s grandfather.”
The 101-year-old - the figurehead of Austin’s of the Diamond - passed away peacefully at Altnagelvin Hospital surrounded by his family on Wednesday.
Father Eamon Graham told the father-of-five’s Requiem Mass that he had lived an “especially long and blessed” life during which he had “enriched our city, our community and so many individual lives.”
Hundreds of people, among them politicians, members of the business community and civic leaders, packed into St Columba’s Church, Long Tower, on Friday morning to hear Father Graham pay tribute to a “very proud husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather.”
“The life of Larry has weaved a golden thread of goodness through our city,” said Fr. Graham.
“From humble beginnings and hard work, Larry, through our darkest days, gave employment to our people and gave us a pride and confidence in our city when things looked very bleak.
“No matter what the Troubles brought to us, the roof and tower of Austins on the city skyline were always a call to, and a sign of, better days ahead.
“In the days of the Troubles, so many unsung heroes struggled to keep the business life of this city alive against all the odds. The business people were joined and supported by the ordinary good people of Derry - these good people Larry never forgot.
“In many respects Larry was like a grandfather to us all. He was, indeed, Derry’s grandfather.”
“We are all better people for having known Larry.”
Mr. Hasson was later buried in St Joseph’s Cemetery, Banagher (Feeney).