TRIBUTES have been paid to a popular Wrexham GP who has died aged 80.

Michael Desmond Sheehan, of Snowdon Drive, Wrexham, who worked at surgeries in Rhos, Rhostyllen and Wrexham for nearly 30 years, died peacefully in his sleep on September 12 after suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

Speaking on behalf of the family, his son, John Sheehan, said: “This is a time of sadness, for mourning his loss, and of relief that a long and painful decline is finally over and he is at peace.

“It is also a time to celebrate his life and his sense of humour and to remember the happiness he brought to the people around him.”

Dr Sheehan leaves a wife, Joan, children Patricia, John, Mike, Peter and Anne and grandchildren Gabriel, Hester, Christina, Rebecca, Jake, Dominic, Aidan, Barry and Theo.

Born in Kuala Lumpur in 1930, Dr Sheehan spent his early childhood first in Switzerland and then in Ireland, attending Clongowes Wood school in County Kildare. He spent several years playing rugby for Bective Rangers in Dublin before a dislocated shoulder ended his career.

He was also British and Irish universities light heavyweight boxing champion in 1949.

He studied medicine at University College Dublin where he met his wife and they were married in 1957.

They moved to the UK where, obliged to do national service, Dr Sheehan joined the RAF, leaving in 1960.  The family briefly lived in Leeds before a chance meeting between one of Joan’s cousins and Dr Kevin McDonald led to Dr Sheehan joining Dr McDonald and Dr Dennis Ryan as a partner at their practice in 1961.

He spent 30 years as a GP in the area while his children went through school and university.

Dr Sheehan was a member of Wrexham Golf Club and St Mary’s Catholic Club.

He retired in 1990, just before his 60th birthday and enjoyed his time with his wife Joan, playing golf, gardening, and taking holidays on the Welsh Coast and in Scotland.

He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease six years ago and moved into Pendine Care home in 2008.

His widow said: “He bore the pain and frustration remarkably well, with the help and support of his family and the care of the staff at Pendine, and would always raise a smile whenever he listened to the grandchildren telling him what they had been up to.”

Dr Sheehan’s funeral service took place at St Mary’s Cathedral on Friday, September 23.