Barry Segrave 1933 – 2023 – A Renaissance Man

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Barry Segrave
Barry Segrave

If there is a Heaven, it was thrown into a flurry of activity with the arrival of Barry Segrave on December 30, 2023, writes Maureen Browne.

As soon as he had been received by the Almighty, I can imagine him looking around and thinking that Heaven or not, it could benefit from a little re-organisation here and there and resolving initially to have a chat with St. Michael, the Archangel.

For to Barry, with his formidable intellect. networking skills and kindness, things could always be improved, services always enhanced and made easier to access for those who needed them.

During his 90 years on earth, he had a number of successful careers, but probably that closest to his heart was as a health services Boss and the time he spent as CEO of both the  North Eastern and Eastern Health Boards, following the establishment of the new Boards in 1970.

Patrick Bartholomew Segrave, always known as Barry, was born on, November 13, 1933, to building contractor Matthew Segrave and his wife, Lena of  Drogheda.

Barry was educated at Mount Mellory Abbey in Waterford, then served his apprenticeship as a carpenter –  he was always proud of his finely honed carpentry skills and very amused to hear himself described as a carpenter to a prestigious medical committee to which he had been appointed  by the Minister for Health, when he had joined the health services.

In the late 1950s, he went to the US and in  1958 married  Winefride (Winnie), whom he had met at home through St Bridget’s amateur Dramatic Society, in Drogheda and who was to be his wife and partner for 65 years.

He was drafted into the U.S. Army, and posted to Munich where his son, Kevin was born in 1960.

Returning to New York when his period in the army had come to an end, he and Winnie settled in Brooklyn, where their son, Brian was born in 1963.

He moved into banking and studied at New York University, graduating  in Business Administration, magna cum laude. in 1968.

He then  returned  to Ireland to take up an appointment in Bord Failte. Barry’s and Winnie’s third son, Ronan was born in Dublin during this time.

With the establishment of the new Health Board system in 1970, he was appointed first Chief Executive Officer of the North Eastern Health Board and subsequently CEO of the Eastern Health Board.

A Renaissance man, he had a wide range of interests, from literature to politics and sports. In retirement, he set up a business in  Enniscoe, Co Mayo, providing boats, engines and gillies, (he being Chief Gilly),  on Lough Conn.

Former Health Managers from many parts of the country came to his funeral Mass in Kells to say good-bye to one of their own.

He is survived by his wife, Winnie, sons, Kevin, Brian and Ronan and his granddaughter, Caitlin.