Reply To: The Irish Topic

Forums The Irish Topic The Irish Topic The Irish Topic Reply To: The Irish Topic

#1285
Avatar photoEK

    And heard via Jenn that Olli passed away, that was sad news.

    Did see him a couple of times at those workshops Jenn did.
    You can feel that is good energy.

     

     

     

    A real character.

     

     

     

    Oliver (Ollie) Sludds was a man with a passion for life, people and family

    The late Oliver Sludds.

    enniscorthyguardian

    THERE was great sadness felt around the county recently with the passing of Oliver Sludds, Lacken, Ballymurn.

    More commonly referred to as Ollie, he was originally from Enniscorthy, and was renowned as a man of immense creativity both artistically and practically.

    A man dedicated to using his gifts, talents and skills, Ollie was the type of person everyone loved being around.

    He had an infectious personality and his amiable, down to earth, friendly nature meant he endeared himself to everyone he came into contact with and even strangers were made instantly feel at ease when in his company.

    Growing up in a household full of music, when he was aged 8, Ollie’s father and mother, Kearns and Philomena, taught their children how to play the melodeon, accordion and mouth organ.

    In later years Ollie taught himself to play drums ,guitar, banjo and also practiced singing while his early teenage years often saw him perform at house parties.

    With his beloved wife, Julie, he performed all over Ireland with their band, Nighthawks, in which he was singer and drummer, Julie played guitar and sang, and Ollie’s younger brother, Chris, provided lead guitar and vocals.

    Nighthawks were an immensely popular band and contributed greatly to the contemporary Irish country music scene.

    The band was known all around the country for their unique and tasteful live performances, and such was the high regard in which they were held they were often asked to open for  leading, high profile country artists.

    After 63 years of playing music Oliver and Julie, who became a music duo for many years, finally decided to retire, however, they never stopped playing music at home and still enjoyed it informally as a very important part of their lives.

    While his music prowess was something for which he was renowned Ollie was equally well known for being a man who was gifted when it came to working with his hands.

    Regarded by many as ‘a genius’ he had the ability to turn his hand to anything including highly skilled areas such as engineering, welding, steel fabrication, mechanics, carpentry, and plumbing.

    He was also very good as a car salesman and in addition to building houses and sheds he also constructed horse-drawn carriages and built tractors from scratch. Ollie didn’t stop there, however, as he also invented, designed and built various different attachments for his self-built, mini tractors to enable him carry out various jobs around his home.

    Such was his talent with his hands that for many people around the county Ollie was the ‘go to man’ when something needed to be repaired or created, for a particular job.

    Sometimes people just called to get insight and advice from his knowledge on how to approach a specific repair job or task.

    Whatever the problem or challenge, Ollie Sludds invariably had the answer. His inherent artistically creative side didn’t just manifest itself in is music either as he was also excellent at drawing and sketching. He was also no stranger to the sewing machine, having picked up some tips from his seamstress mother. He was also a genius when it came to numbers.

    While his creative talent was something for which people held him in very high regard it was for who he was as a person that earned him the most respect from everyone who knew him.

    Many people all around the county and beyond held him close to their hearts and valued his friendship enormously. Ollie was a man who had a very gentle soul and inherent kindness. He was someone who would help others in any way he could and would never expect anything in return. He got immense joy and satisfaction out of just being able to help people whenever he could.

    He also dedicated a lot of his time helping people with energy healings and many people found being around him was very beneficial as being in his presence was beautiful and relaxing.

    Ollie had a great sense of humour and his positive, ‘can do’ approach to life was infectious, having a very positive effect on those around him. Loyal and trustworthy, he was a man who always remained true to his word and when you made a friend of Ollie Sludds you made a friend for life.

    While he had many interests in life, including being knowledgeable on a very wide range of topics, family came first and foremost above anything else. He lived for his family and Oliver was an amazing husband,  father, brother, grandad, great-grandad, a best friend and a father figure to so many people, who will always keep his spirit and gift of music alive.

    Ollie’s influence as a father figure extended well beyond his family and he was a great influence for many people, especially his children, with his dedication, patience, honesty, guidance and strong positive mind set.

    His positive outlook always meant he adopted the approach that nothing was a problem but more a challenge for which a solution could be found. He always saw through or around any issue and rarely saw things as being a problem.

    One family member recalled a memorable incident that perhaps summed up many of the personality traits of Ollie for which he was renowned, especially with regard to his love of old cars and all things mechanical.

    “This one time, he needed a new van to get him to and from gigs and he got wind of where there was an old Morris Minor van for sale and so he went and bought it with the intentions of using it for the band,” she said.

    “He got the van home, pushed it into the shed, to see how much work it needed to make it road worthy,” she added.

    Once Ollie got the van into the shed he sat into it but the floor gave way, as it was completely rusted out, and when he grabbed onto the driver’s door to pull himself up out of the chassis, the door pulled off the hinges and he ended up face down on top of the door, on the ground. However, not to be defeated and after ten months of measuring, cutting and welding – and after squeezing an engine and gearbox from a Datsun 140J into the van – the Nighthawks country music Morris Minor van was born, complete with home-done custom gold paint spray job.

    That van became iconic for the band and anyone involved with the Wexford and national music scene invariably thought of the van as soon as the name Nighthawks was mentioned.

    It was amazing to witness the transformation of what was a blue bucket of rust, into the golden rocket that served him and Julie for a great number of years.

    The transformation of the vehicle was also indicative of a man who was capable of always turning something negative into positive and whose enthusiasm for life left an indelible mark on all those around him.

    He will be greatly missed and cherished in the hearts of all who knew him.

    Ollie’s requiem mass took place in the Church of St Peter and St Paul, Glenbrien, on Wednesday, October 5, with burial afterwards in Glenbrien Cemetery.

    He is survived by his beloved wife, Julie, children, Shirley, Yvonne, Ray, Stephen, Sabrina, Mandy, Bobby, Kenny and Donna, siblings, Maureen, Sadie, Trush, Chris, Pat and Jim.

    He was predeceased by his late brother, Artie. He is also sadly missed by his children’s partners, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nephews, nieces, relatives and very large circle of friends.