Jack Vance de Bray was a talented footballer and an absolute gentleman

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The death occurred from Jack /Jackie Vance of the Putland Road in Bray. He passed away peacefully on August 3 with his family by his side. He will be sadly missed by his beloved wife Rosaleen (née Martin) of 55 years, his sons Seán, Rory and Ciarán, his daughters-in-law Nicola, Audrey and Niamh, his grandchildren Isabella, James, Billy, Henry, May, Julia and Evie, brothers Pat and Willie, sister Ena, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, extended family and a large circle of friends.

Originally from Bray, Jack grew up on Ardee Street near Dargle Road. A very talented goalkeeper, he played his schoolboy football with St Joseph’s Boys in Sallynoggin and then a fledgling schoolboy football club in South Dublin. He was among the first at St Joseph’s to represent his country at school and youth international level, and was a trials player with Arsenal aged 15 in the late 1950s when, in the words of a of his longtime pals at St Joseph’s, “going on trial in England was a really big deal”.

He was seen on the Bray bus by his family and loved ones. He traveled alone by boat and train to London, a profound and formative experience for a young teenager. The family has a beautiful memory that one of his sons found missing in the attic. This is a 1960 signed letter from then-Liverpool manager Bill Shankly stating that if Arsenal weren’t interested in signing him, then Liverpool certainly were. Like many young footballers in the past who traveled to England, Jack was homesick and eventually returned to Bray and continued his football career with Bray Wanderers, Shamrock Rovers and TEK.

However, his footballing legacy survived. His son Rory represented Liverpool at minor level and, like his father before him, was also approached by another Liverpool legend, Kenny Dalglish, to put pen to paper for the club, but ultimately decided the trip would not be was not the one he wanted to undertake. Jack’s grandson Billy has been capped several times at minor level and currently plays with St Patrick’s Athletic.

A keen and versatile sportsman, Jack joined the Bray Golf Club in the mid-1970s and was very proud to be captain of the club in 1991. A well-known and much-loved figure in the golf club for many years, his family was very touched and grateful to the Bray Golf Club honor guard formed at his funeral.

His professional life began as an apprentice printer in the company Bray Printing, where he learned his trade before joining Lithographic Universal in the commune in the 1960s. However, Jack was a born salesman and although he did not leave the printing company, he joined the multinational printing and chemical company 3M as one of their first sales representatives in Ireland in 1970. Jack’s great ability to connect with people ensured a successful business career. With a deep entrepreneurial spirit, in 1981, at the height of a tough recession, he co-founded Novacolour, a successful printing supplies company headquartered in Blackrock Co Dublin.

His professional and sporting life gave him great opportunities to meet and form lasting friendships that he will cherish all his life.

These friendships were evident in the outpouring of best wishes and condolences the family received upon hearing the news of Jack’s death.

“An absolute gentleman” – the overwhelming feeling the family received after Jack’s death. He had an extraordinary ability to make people want to be around him, a very rare gift.

Jack was one of life’s great competitors, whether it was making acrobatic saves as a goalkeeper or winning the next business sale, he fought no more than with his own health. Supported by his beloved wife, Rosaleen, she was a rock of support for Jack and saw him through difficult medical challenges for many years.

He finally succumbed to pneumonia in August, but not before astonishing the nursing staff at St Vincent with his good humor and fighting spirit. In his own inimitable words – “I gave it a real boost”.

Jack is survived by his wife Rosaleen, sons Sean, Rory and Ciaran.

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