Tayto Park founder Ray Coyle has today been remembered as a businessman, a family man, and a man who shared his good fortune to help others.
he businessman behind Tayto crisps and the founder of Tayto Park, died last week in his 70th year.
Mr Coyle started his working life as a potato farmer. He famously raffled off 280 acres of land in 1982 in order to pay back money owed to banks as his business struggled.
He founded Largo Foods in 1982 and it grew to own brands including Hunky Dorys.
In 2006 he bought the Tayto brand from C&C, and went on to found Tayto Park in Meath in 2008.
In 2015 he sold his final 25pc holding in Largo to Intersnack. He stepped down as chairman of Largo Foods in 2016.
He died peacefully last Wednesday in hospital and is survived by his wife Rosamond, children Charles and Natalya, son-in-law Arthur, his brother John, sisters Jennifer and Charlotte and by his nieces and nephews Robert, Valerie, Stephen, Elaine, John, Aisling, Aoife, Fiona and his extended family and friends.
At his funeral at St Andrew’s Church in the village of Curragha, Co Meath, students from the adjacent St Andrew’s National School formed a guard of honour as his remains arrived.
In his homily, Fr Kevin Heery described Mr Coyle as a giant in the world of enterprise and entrepreneurship both internationally and here at home.
“He was an unstoppable force in business and boardroom and in the community as well,” he said, adding that he had a huge presence, and despite being known for his great ventures his greatest venture was his family.
He told how 60 years ago in the same church Ray Coyle had taken the name of St Peter for his Confirmation.
“If we think about St Peter, he was a hardy man, a fisherman, an unlikely leader of a new institution. A man who knew the value of hard work he surrounded himself with good people and learned to speak from the heart before the head kicked in, who often saw an opportunity when others thought it was complete madness,” he said.
Fr Heery said there were many who benefited from Ray Coyle’s generosity locally, such as those looking for summer employment in the factory or in Tayto Park looking for a little bit of extra money to get them through college, and the local farmers, charities and sports clubs who are thankful for that quality that saw wealth not so much as personal gain, but as a way of improving the lives of all those around us.
At the end of the Requiem Mass friends, neighbours and associated of Mr Coyle’s lined-up to offer their condolences to his family as the song Smooth Operator was sung by a soloist.
A private burial was due to take place later.