The funeral of Derry man, Anthony (Tony) Griffiths, was told on Sunday how his family will be “forever grateful” to all those whose actions and support allowed them to “bring him home.”
Mourners gathered at St. Mary’s Church in Creggan to lay the 59-years-old to rest, three days after his body was found following a massive three-days search around Isle of Doagh in Inishowen.
Mr. Griffiths had gone missing while camping in the area with his family and Fr. Paul Fraser, CC told how the “tragic accident’” which stole him from them was “of the worst kind.”.
He described how Tony had been a loving husband, son and brother; a devoted father and grandfather, who was “first and foremost, a family man and a feeder.”
Mourners were reminded of how Tony loved to entertain and “everyone was made to feel welcome at the table and conservatory” where the world was “often put to rights.” Fond anecdotes were told of how he could “take a plain piece of food and make it special” and nothing made him happier than bringing friends and family together around the dinner table.
Fr. Fraser said that while Tony’s skill’s in the kitchen were “legendary,” he also approached golf with the same “extraordinary enthusiasm” although the results on the course were not quite as successful as those in the kitchen.
For Tony, golf was about the “camaraderie, the craic and the friendship.”
Mourners heard how Tony had a great love of music, especially U2 and he was “especially emotional” about the songs he shared with wife Leonie, who he called often.
Fr. Fraser said this is what made the silence Leonie felt on Tuesday morning “almost deafening” and “it didn’t take her long to realise something was wrong.”
Within hours, there were dozens and finally hundreds of people looking for Tony. Tributes were paid to all those who helped in the search and who offered support.
Fr Fraser stated how they will “never know the consolation” the family got from what they did and they allowed them to “believe in goodness and had hope.”
“The situation was utterly transformed by the work of these good Samaritans,” he said.
Fr. Fraser told how the sea around Isle of Doagh is “rough and unforgiving” and it “is nothing short of a miracle” Tony’s body was found so quickly.
“Although it was devastating for his family, the fact that they were able to bring Tony home to the place where he loved and was loved, has been a great gift to them and they will be forever grateful to those who made this possible,” he said.