It was a celebration of life rather than a sombre requiem service but the final burial in Ballygunner cemetery showed real grief which we could see was just too real for a man whose life was taken early at the age of 60 years. Sincere Sympathy was expressed to widow Maria and son Ian. His many friends and associates attended in huge numbers.
He was made a Freeman of Waterford for his great work in promoting Waterford Airport, attracting the Tall Ships Race to Waterford over two years ago and for its return in 2011.
The Mayor, the entire city council, city manager Michael Walsh as well as the Taoiseach Brian Cowen were all represented.
Dean Lester conducted the ceremony for Nicky who helped raise substantial funds to restore the church and to lobby the office of public works at the time to make a considerable contribution through Minister of State Martin Cullen, who also attended the service and was a close associate of the late Mr Fewer.
Mr Fewer who died after a long struggle with cancer saw Dr Gordon Watson address the congregation. He spoke most sincerely of his work, his forbearance through his illness, the many visitors who came to see him and his support for the Hospice charity.
Dr Watson spoke of his great fellowship and company, how he his Spanish wife Maria in London when he worked there from 1972-75, after qualifying as an architect in Dublin’s Bolton St. His parents, Christy and Brid, were both teachers from West Kerry. He went to De La Salle school in Waterford and instilled in him the importance of learning and career.
Dr. Watson complimented Nicky’s wife Maria from the Barcelona area of Spain, noting her looks and strong character, she showed great strength in her life in this difficult time during the illness period. While he was hard working, she was the strong support at home over the years.
Paul Nolan spoke about his commercial success. In 1975 Nicky set up a practice in Waterford and slowly built it up, one of his major clients was Waterford Crystal, with whom he travelled to many parts of the world to see the glass displayed in stores as well as doing refurbishments at the factory in Waterford.
In the final weeks, he was working with the unions, state agencies and KPS to get a new firm to make glass again in Waterford, a point noted by his friend Paul Nolan, surveyor. He was a committed Waterford man throughout his life. A successful president of the Waterford Chamber of Commerce in 1986, he later expanded his practice and with Niall Harrington opened up offices in Dublin, London and Warsaw as Poland expanded. In 2002 he was Chairman of Strategy Waterford to try and boost local resources and get the university upgrade for WIT with the Tall Ships race being one of his great achievements. Waterford Airport was another passion for him with new investment there, an industrial and business park, as well as setting up a company to fly to Malaga Spain, Faro Portugal, France and Amsterdam. Like with the glass, he was a great man to bring people together and get solutions. This worked well overseas as he used his Irish charm and bon homie.
Lived life to the full
He lived life to the full and enjoyed social events very much. Accountant Frank Kelly was another contemporary who spoke about his philosophy as a business leader. He combined honesty and integrity in his dealings with others and made sure to be consistent and be a good role model and knew well how to treat others, understand others opinion and help resolve conflict.
Frank Cole mentioned his sailing, where he had 5 large boats, one was used in Spain near his wife’s home country and he loved bringing along friends there, with Maria being a great hostess too. Through his sailing contacts the Tall Ships link was established, we all remembered the great buzz around Waterford that weekend.
Dr. Kieran Byrne said he lived life with his high standards and how we all benefited from those who knew him, a visionary and a giver. He did not tolerate gloom mongers and pessimists seeing the positive over the negative and was a true leader of the community. We would be poorer for his loss.
His son Ian recalled his family commitments and thanked the various speakers and doctors. He recalled some friends that went before him like Cormac McNamara and Harry Diegmann . He described his Dad as generous, driven, a leader, great friend and father and a proud Waterford man, who will be missed by his Mum and himself.
Throughout the unique service, which was broken up by songs from Queen, Lionel Ritchie, Hot Chocolate, Rod Stewart, Bryan Ferry in what was a special service specifically drawn up in his latter weeks to make sure that his friends remembered him well and that they could feel good about their time with him.
Dean Lester said he had a busy life and how now was the time for him to rest in a new life. In some ways when we love someone the more we lose with a sense of sadness and loss. His life was full. Monsignor Olden of Tramore’s Holy Cross also gave a reading.
As his coffin was carried through the church there was ringing applause in what was a remarkable service of celebration. As he was buried in Ballygunner, a number of sea shanty songs were sung, as his body was laid into the ground automatically by Chris Hennessey undertakers. A helicopter flew overhead sometimes drowning out the clergymen in their prayers at the graveside.