Vale Pat O'Shea: Voice of the Downs farewelled
UPDATE: The Darling Downs community farewelled a media and sporting giant during both an emotional and light-hearted funeral for Pat O'Shea today.
Mr O'Shea, 64, died in Toowoomba's St Andrew's Hospital on Saturday after failing to recover from recent cancer surgery.
His shock death brought down the curtain on a 44-year Toowoomba radio and television presenting career where he also excelled in race and sport broadcasting.
A standing-room-only crowd of more than 1000 people gathered at St Patrick's Cathedral to pay tribute and say good-bye to the man affectionately known as the "voice of the Darling Downs".
The almost two-hour mass and celebration of Mr O'Shea's life, drew mourners from as far away as Victoria.
The attendance was fittingly marked with a large representation of racing industry and sporting fraternity members.
Former Toowoomba and now premier Queensland trainer Tony Gollan travelled from Brisbane for the service.
He was joined by a large contingent of Toowoomba racing figures including Michael Nolan, Tony Sears, Richie Stephenson, Ron Goltz, Gary Geran and Ben Saunders.
Former Kangaroo and ARL chairman John McDonald was amongst the pall bearers which included Mr O'Shea's son James and brother John, David Silver, Shane Fitzpatrick and Graham Scheu.
Mr O'Shea's children James, Kate Ingram and Karen Guiffrida each delivered emotional and humorous words of remembrance of their father's legacy as both a loving family leader and public identity.
James spoke of the brotherly bond Pat shared with John and their love of sport as youngsters and how his father answered his early racing calling.
"His love of horse racing was started through his aunt and grandmother," James said.
"Dad used to sneak off to the race course as a youngster instead of going to the pictures.
"He taught himself race calling with a tape recorder and pair of binoculars in the back of the grandstand.
"But to dad his greatest achievement was his family. That's what gave him the most joy - his family and the time he spent with us."
Karen paid tribute to the love shared between Pat and his wife Cecile and the dedication of her mother to Pat during his battle with health problems over the past two years.
She saved her final words for her father.
"He had time for everyone. He never let anyone down."
Toowoomba horse trainer Kevin Kemp was also among yesterday's mourners.
"We'll never see another one like Pat again," Kemp said.
Mr O'Shea affectionately nicknamed Kemp - "Kevin Weetwood Kemp"- for his feat to train four Weetwood Handicap winners.
"Pat came up with that nickname for me and what a great honour it was for him to recognise me like that," he said.
"He was nature's gentleman - and so talented.
"I doubt Pat had an enemy in the world in what is a pretty tough field.
"He always tried to make good things out of bad.
"His loss is going to have such a big impact on all of us."
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EARLIER 12.20: Mourners have packed St Patrick's Cathedral for the funeral of iconic Toowoomba sports broadcaster Pat O'Shea.
Hundreds of guests from across Queensland and interstate have come to Mr O'Shea's hometown to pay their respects.
Community leaders and sports broadcasting personalities are in attendance.
Mr O'Shea was a household name in Toowoomba after a media career spanning 44 years.
EARLIER 8.30: The Toowoomba community is preparing to farewell sports broadcaster Pat O'Shea at his noon funeral today in St Patrick's Cathedral.
Hundreds of people are expected to attend from across Queensland and interstate.
Toowoomba Turf Club is running shuttle buses from Clifford Park Racecourse to the cathedral today between 11am and 11.45am in a bid to deal with traffic congestion.
The return service from the cathedral to the racecourse will commence following the service.
A wake for Mr O'Shea will begin in the Wippells Auto Grande Marquee at Clifford Park Racecourse from 2pm.
Mr O'Shea, 64, passed away on September 5 in Toowoomba's St Andrew's Hospital after a short illness.
He was a household name in Toowoomba after a media career spanning 44 years.
O'Shea family members say they have been overwhelmed by condolence messages and offers of support following Mr O'Shea's death.
The Toowoomba racing industry moved swiftly to honour the legendary Clifford Park race caller with an annual race named in memory of him.
The former Hopeful Two-Year-Old Plate will now be known as the Pat O'Shea Plate.