It was with great sadness that we learned of the death of Norman Lynas on Good Friday. Norman was Dean of Ossory from 1991-2010 and served as Chairperson of the Model School Board of Management throughout this period. His son, Tristan, is currently a community nominee on our Board. We offer our deepest sympathies to the Lynas family and ask you to keep them in your thoughts and prayers at this time. Norman will be sadly missed by the entire Model School Community.
The following tribute from Bishop Michael is on behalf of the Diocese.
“News of the death In the United States of Norman Lynas, dean of Ossory from 1991 to 2009 will undoubtedly and rightly cause a wave of sadness to pass over Kilkenny and beyond….yet that sadness will be accompanied by a myriad of grateful memories. Our sadness is of course accentuated by our awareness of the extraordinarily difficult times Norman and his family have experienced since his catastrophic accident last summer. Reading online posts describing their courage, positivity, faith and resilience in the intervening months has been an inspiration.
Inevitably we look back now at Norman through the lens of recent suffering, and our memory is textured by the mood that Good Friday inevitably brings. Yet it is right that we remember Norman as he really was and as we knew him – full of energy and ideas and faithfulness and fun. Norman was a hard worker, a devoted priest and a kindly pastor …. and he was the life and soul of a good party too. He loved to view the whole of life as a foretaste of the heavenly banquet.
I’ve known Norman since our paths first crossed in TCD in the late 1970’s. I recall his scholarly yet enthusiastic contributions at Synods, his rich sense of the very tapestry of Anglicanism. His appointment to Kilkenny as a really very young dean and rector in 1991 was in so many ways inspired. He brought the experience and wisdom of his Ulster background to the South East, and came rapidly to relish the life of the Southern church. He was one of those people who seemed to straddle successfully the various facets that make up the layered life of the Church of Ireland. He was a true pastor, who shed godly cheerfulness but was never trite. People in situations of sadness and loss welcomed his presence in the midst of their need. His impact on the wider civic life of Kilkenny was remarkable. Amid his many liturgical duties he found time… as a good dean must do …to know, love and understand the fabric of the cathedral. He rejoiced particularly in the rebuilding of the organ. Curates with whom he worked and for whom he was an inspiration loved him.
Norman gave hugely of himself to strategic planning regarding educational matters in Kilkenny ; both the Model School and Kilkenny College owe much to his vision and wisdom, and he was a much-loved presence in the everyday life of both.
Norman welcomed me to Kilkenny in 2006 with memorable warmth ; I remember him coming to the house with presents that first Christmas when I felt new and rather strange. His smile on the doorstep and his generosity made Claire say (and I suspect her reaction was by no means untypical) – ‘That visit made Christmas for us!’
Soon after I arrived Norman realised that having served for close on two decades in a ministerial task of vast proportions it might be prudent to consider something very different. Hence his departure to Bermuda, a place he had come to love …it was an adventurous and noble decision, which brought much sadness to Kilkenny at the time. Yet for him it was the commencement of a whole new fruitful chapter of which others can better speak. Tragedy struck soon after the move with Nichola’s sudden death (and many had regarded them as almost inseparable), yet Norman displayed courage and resilience, stuck it out in Bermuda, and eventually found great renewed happiness in life and love. It is now fitting that all that is mortal of him should return to Hillsborough to be buried alongside Nichola.
Our hearts go out especially to Tristan (happily still in our midst In Kilkenny) and to Adam as they mourn their father; we are conscious of how unspeakably difficult recent months have been for them. They, and we, can be sustained by the memory of a larger-than-life figure, characterised by generosity, whose priestly ministry cheered as well as sanctified so many of those with whom he had to do. The ancient stones of St Canice’s will somehow know that they bear the footmarks of a very fine dean.
As a hymn sums it up regarding Norman and others like him –
‘These stones that have echoed their praises are holy, and dear is the ground where their feet have once trod;
Yet here they confessed they were strangers and pilgrims, and still they were seeking the city of God’.”