A Tribute to Simon McDonaugh (1906-1992)
By Don Pidgeon
Remembering Simon McDonaugh, who lived 85 years, is perpetuating a memory of good deeds based on Christian values. Here was a man whose love and charity shone through in his life and in his activities. Yet all his life he refused public acknowledgements, titles, or prestige while quietly accomplishing his undertakings.
Simon was born in a small fishing village on the Atlantic Ocean called Mackinagh, Connemara in County Galway on September 18th, 1906. From his early years he had a love for the ocean and coming from a musical family he also loved to sing and step dance. He was married to Margaret (Peggy) Connolly who was his strength and companion through their many years of marriage.
Simon came to Montreal and lived on Brewster St. in lower Westmount for 45 years. He worked at the Imperial Tobacco Co. and retired after many years of service. He also worked as an usher (Red Cap) at the Montreal Forum for 37 years where he was nicknamed “Red”.
He was one of the founding members of the Innisfal Social and Sports Club in 1947, a member of the Gaelic Athletic Association, a warden of St. Thomas Aquinas Church, and involved in the yearly pilgrimages to Our Lady of Knock Shrine near Buckingham, Quebec. In the mid ‘50’s he was a member of the Brass and Reed Band of St. Anthony’s Parish and loved his Monday night game of cards in the Hot Stove League of St. Thomas Aquinas Church. He was also a long tern member of the United Irish Societies wherein he served honourably as Chief Deputy Marshall from 1940 to 1979. During those years he was known to be the inspiration behind the successful implementation of the Parades on Montreal Streets, and for many years the catalyst behind the building of the Reviewing Stands. Prior to the start of Parade activities on Parade Day Sundays there was a standing invitation to the Director of Organization, to the Executive of the U.I.S., and senior Police Officers involved in the Parade to gather at Simon’s home on Brewster where “Peggy” served a drink to all and Simon toasted St. Patrick and a good Parade. It was the way to start Parade Day. In later years, Simon was appointed an Honorary Member of the Societies.
Simon is survived by his sister Kate Joyce of Boston, his brother Pateen of Connemara, his two sons John (Sandy) and Robert (Lin) and four grandchildren.
Simon is remembered for his charitable deeds, for helping the poor and, especially for his help to newcomers from Ireland to our City. His friend Willie Fahey told me that Simon was a second father to him and those of us who knew him will always remember Simon with love as for a father.
Don Pidgeon, Historian