Desmond Thomas “Des” Markey, age 90, peacefully departed this life on September 21, 2018, with his daughters by his side.
Born on July 14, 1928, in Limerick, Ireland, he was 1 of 7 children to Teresa Elizabeth McGrath Markey and Gerard Francis Stanislaus Markey, and grew up in Dublin, Ireland.
After his mother died in 1940, Des was sent to an orphanage and industrial school, Carriglea Park, in Dún Laoghaire, Ireland. He discovered the school’s library, which offered him comfort in a time of sadness, and ignited his passion for reading and history. Des became a lifelong learner, lover of books, and an endearing patriarch who cherished every moment spent with his family. During his life, he had many intriguing jobs such as soldier, furnace stoker, boot maker, cattle herder, crane operator, laboratory assistant, and corporate salesman. He was a true patriot who served in both the Irish Army (1945-1951) and the Delaware Army National Guard (1955-1957).
Des immigrated to the United States in 1955, joining his sisters already living and working in Wilmington, Del. Soon thereafter, he met the love of his life, Anne Teresa Lynch, of Centreville, Del. They met by a chance occurrence at a Christmas party. Des and Anne quickly fell in love. They were married in 1958 at Saint Joseph on the Brandywine Church.
Together, they raised their daughters, Paula Teresa and Laura Anne, in their family home at 6005 Lancaster Pike in Wilmington. During this time, Des taught himself chemistry, landing him in what would become a 30-year career with Hercules, Inc., first working as a laboratory assistant and later as corporate salesman.
Des enjoyed golf, wood working, reading nonfiction, refinishing old furniture, listening to Irish music, arguing politics, and spending time with family and friends. In his final year of life, all he could talk about was seeing his newly born “great-grandbabies.”
Des was predeceased by his wife of 50 years; his parents; as well as siblings, Betty Coughlin, Ron Markey, Patsy Markey, Shirley Kebrich, and Gerry Williams. He is survived by his daughters Paula McGowan (Mike) and Laura Mackie Lee; his sister, Dolores Evin; and his brother-in-law and best friend of 60 years, Dave Williams and sisters-in-law, Mary Dempsey (Ross), Betty Lynch, Joan Lynch, and Mary C. Lynch. He is also endured by his 7 grandchildren (and their spouses), Shannon Spaniol (Jeison), Brendan Mackie (Carly), Kevin Mackie (Kate), Blythe Maynard (Mike), Maia Lee, Abigail McGowan, and Michael McGowan; his 2 great-granddaughters, Callie Maynard and Adaline Mackie; and a host of nieces, nephews, neighbors, friends, and fellow veterans.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Friday, Sept. 28, at 10:00 am, at St. Joseph’s on the Brandywine Church, 10 Old Church Road, Greenville, DE. Burial will follow in the adjoining cemetery. Friends may call at Mealey Funeral Home, 2509 Limestone Road, Thursday, Sept. 27, from 6-8 pm.
Des always had empathy for children, especially those with health challenges and those lacking educational opportunities. In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory may be made to Nativity Prep, 1515 Linden Street, Wilmington, DE 19805 (nativitywilmington.org/giving); The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Foundation, P.O. Box 781352, Philadelphia, PA 19178 (give.chop.edu/page/content/give); and The Jack & Jill Foundation, which supports critically ill Irish children (justgiving.com/desmondmarkey).