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BRENDAN PENDER (1938-2016)

Brendan Pender was born in 1938 and grew up in the Dublin suburb of Terenure, where the family home was in Fortfield Road. Brendan was educated in Terenure College, just a few minutes from his home. On completion of his education, he joined the staff of Hewitt’s Travel Agency and worked there for some 35 years. Brendan then became, for a further ten years, a director of the travel agency “Personal Travel”, located in Whitehall in North Dublin. He joined the staff of Railtours Ireland in 2000, initially working in the administration section, before being appointed a Customer Train Host. He retired finally from that Company in 2009 due to increasing ill health Brendan is recorded in Journal No. 12, Spring 1953, as having recently joined the Society as a Junior Member. During his period in the Junior Branch, he organised several outings. At 21 years of age, he transferred to Senior Membership of the Society and in 1964 became Hon. Librarian. Brendan was one of a number of then young members who contributed greatly to developing the Society and building up membership, as well as undertaking significant historical research, both for inclusion in the Journal and external publication. After a number of years absence from the Committee, Brendan once again became a Committee Member in the 1997/8 season and was appointed Programme Organiser and Hon. Deputy Archivist. He subsequently became the Society’s Hon. Archivist, a position he held until March 2010.

He joined the editorial team of the “Irish Railfans’ News” in October 1958 and continued as a team member of that magazine up to its demise in May 1973. Brendan was also co-author of several books including, with Herbert Richards, the still much sought after ‘Irish Railways Today’, in 1967, and ‘GS&WR Carriage Diagrams’ in 1975, again a joint work with Herbert Richards. Brendan was a member of the group that operated under the name “Transport Research Associates” (TRA) and included also, inter alia, Paddy Flanagan, Cyril McIntyre and Herbert Richards. TRA published a number of scholarly books in the 60s and 70s, always to the highest production standards. Coaching stock was a particular interest of Brendan and he gave an excellent presentation to the Society in February 1973 on this subject. He had previously spoken on the “Service Vehicles of CIÉ” in March 1971 – an unusual and rare subject. Brendan gave most generously of his time to researching information for other members of the Society, to assist them in producing works of Irish railway interest. Away from railways, Brendan was very keen on music and although he did not play an instrument, he had an extensive collection of records and tapes. He was Secretary of the Tape Recording Society based in Artane in North Dublin. He was also Chairman of his local Residents Association, at Cremorne Apartments in Terenure, not far from his old home in Fortfield Road. On first acquaintance, Brendan came across as quite a reserved person, but he got on well with people in every level of the railway business and in heritage circles. He was an excellent ambassador for the Society, both at meetings with railway company officers and Society events, and acted as one of the hosts at the Society’s Annual Dinner. He was instrumental in securing a number of heritage grants for repair of deteriorated works in the Society’s Archive and Library. Brendan was particularly well known in Coras Iompair Éireann and Iarnród Éireann circles. He spent a considerable time working in the Archives at Heuston Station, checking and logging files, from the material held by the Soceity, for the CIÉ Secretary’s Office. Brendan and Norman McAdams acted as judges in the annual IÉ “Best Station Competition” and became well respected for their impartiality and the thoroughness with which they undertook this duty. The esteem in which Brendan was held was marked by the attendance of CIÉ and IÉ officials at a small party held in the Society’s premises to mark his retirement from the Committee. As a Committee member, Brendan was a sober and constructive contributor, always level-headed and steady in his input. He had however a rarely-displayed inner steeliness, which, when unleashed, was equally valuable when crises arose. In his heyday, he was a most dependable and valued colleague, and not only the Society, but also CIÉ and IÉ, owe him deep gratitude for all the work he put in over the years. Sadly, in later life, Brendan suffered from a progressive and debilitating illness, which ultimately led to his retirement from the Committee in March 2010. By December 2010, independent living had become impossible for him, and he had to move to Carysfort Nursing Home in Glenageary, where he died on 26 August 2016. Brendan was predeceased by his brother Michael and sister Maura. He is survived by six nieces and nephews, and grandnieces and grandnephews. His funeral service took place, in the presence of his family and a large number of Society friends, at Terenure College Chapel, close to where he lived in his early years, on Tuesday 30 August 2016, followed by burial in Bohernabreena Cemetery,.

May he rest in peace.                          AH/MW

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