‘Special’ Cormac McLaughlin remembered as ‘a blessing to so many people’

Mourners at the funeral of ‘very special’ Cormac McLaughlin have heard how his life ‘was a blessing to so many people.’

The 39-year-old teacher lived most of his life in Castlederg, but spent his early years in Buncrana and had strong connections to the town.

The son of Rhona (nee Hegarty) and the late Charlie McLaughlin from Buncrana, many of Cormac’s family members live in Buncrana and Inishowen, including his brother, Darragh. The siblings, along with their sister Niamh, are well-known to many.

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Last year, while living and working in Hong Kong, Cormac was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour. Following the sudden diagnosis, Cormac married the ‘love of his life,’ Krystal and the fundraising campaign ‘Care for Cormac’ was launched to send him for pioneering treatment in the USA. Hundreds of thousands of pounds were raised but sadly, Cormac’s family announced on July 30 that their ‘brave brother, son, husband and friend,’ had passed away peacefully while in Texas.

The late Cormac McLaughlin, pictured with his wife, Krystal.

Cormac’s Requiem Mass was celebrated at St. Patrick’s Church, Castlederg on Monday, following which he was laid to rest in his ‘beloved’ Buncrana.

Father Paul Fraser PP Castlederg, told those gathered at the Mass and the many watching online, how Cormac was ‘special to so many people’. The gifts brought to the altar by his nephew and niece were a family picture, as family was so important to him, a soft toy representing Krystal, a Donegal jersey and a set of children’s books that represented his love for and dedication to the teaching profession. Fr Fraser told how Cormac had taught in Ireland, the UK, Rome and Hong Kong and that ‘for Cormac, teaching was a vocation, not just a job’. He added that, no matter where Cormac went, he made friends and he had a ‘huge circle of friends who reached out constantly’. Cormac, he added, ‘loved the craic and was always in the middle of it - he was a total wind-up merchant’.

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“He touched people’s lives. He was a man who knew how to bring out the best in people and that always draws people to another person,” said Fr Fraser.

Fr Fraser outlined how Cormac returned to Ireland for medical investigations and was unable to return to Hong Kong. His family, said Fr Fraser, ‘provided the very best of care and investigations for him’. He loved his trips to Donegal with Daragh and ‘couldn’t have been better cared for’ than by Rhona. Fr Fraser also described Cormac as a man of ‘deep faith’ and told how he was ‘always delighted’ to pray with him. “In all the visits I shared with Cormac, I never once heard him ask the question: ‘Why me?’ Fr Fraser described how Cormac spoke constantly of Krystal and ‘grew great strength from their daily chats and constant communication’.

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“His life was a blessing to so many people - his determination, optimism, sense of humour and encouragement to people at different points of their lives, should be an encouragement to us all to be more like that in our lives, actions and gestures.” Fr Fraser said the response of so many communities to the fundraiser showed how much he was loved. “I know the family have been overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of the response shown. We shouldn’t be surprised - when notice of Cormac’s death was posted on Facebook, over 1400 comments were made, every one of them acknowledging the qualities of this man, the qualities he possessed in abundance. He will be missed, but never forgotten.”

Fr Fraser said Cormac’s life was shorter than it should have been, but he was a ‘man who touched more lives than any of us will ever get the chance to touch’.