The Tinneny Family History Site



James Francis "Jim" Tinneny

1923 - 2009

Jim was the son of Francis Tinneny of Belturbet, Co. Cavan, Ireland and Margaret Coleman.  He was born in Roslea, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland May 22, 1923. He attended Saint Tierney's Primary School in Roslea followed by technical school in the city of Clones. His sister Betty remembers him as a good dancer during his school years.

Jim entered the Irish Army in 1939 and after completing initial training at the Curragh in Co. Kildare; he served as a private in cavalry platoons in counties Galway and Sligo in Ireland.  In 1941, Jim left the Irish Army and enlisted in the Royal Air Force where he served until the conclusion of World War II.


(L) Jim - a teenager in the Irish Army. 

Courtesy of Mary Tinneny Barton


(R) Jim in his RAF uniform near the end of WWII.

Courtesy of Betty Tinneny                     


After the War Jim said that there weren’t many jobs around Roslea so he submitted applications to immigrate to South Africa, New Zealand or Canada.  He quickly decided he didn’t want to go to South Africa then ruled out Canada because he figured it would be too cold – although he had been approved for both. He settled on New Zealand. 

Jim said that when he first arrived in Australia there was no unemployment and jobs were easily available.  He initially worked at the main post office in Auckland then found a job with the railroad, next he worked as a longshoreman on the docks.  This was followed by a job working with overhead electric.  Finally he worked as a painter and decorator.  In New Zealand he met and Mary Agnes Kenrick.  Mary was the daughter of Thomas Kenrick and Cicely Madigan. 

Mary had spent two years as a nun but left the convent due to poor health.

Jim and Mary settled in Auckland, New Zealand where they had five children Francis, Patrick, Bernadette, Mary and Peter.

Photos Right:  Jim and Mary.

Courtesy of Mary Tinneny Barton

After a long bout with cancer Jim's wife Mary died on September 13, 1968. Following her death, Jim moved back to Ireland with his children.  They lived near his mother and his sister Betty Tinneny who helped raise the children.  For about 18 years Jim and the children lived at 16 Church Street in Roslea. As the years went by his daughters Bernadette and Mary and his son Peter moved back to New Zealand.  Jim frequently visited them there.  In 1992 he returned to New Zealand to live and his son Francis took over the house on Church Street. Until his health prevented him, Jim returned to Ireland to visit his sister, sons and his grandchildren there.

Photo Right: Jim in his painter’s garb. Courtesy of Mary Tinneny Barton.

On Monday, January 19, 2009 Jim passed away peacefully after a long illness in Auckland, New Zealand. Following is his obituary notice.


James Francis (Jim). On Monday 19 January 2009, Jim passed away peacefully. Dearly loved husband of the late Mary Agnes and loved father of Mary, Berny, Patrick, Peter and the late Francis. Loved father-in-law of Bernadette, John, and the late Steve. Dearest Granddad of Marc and Jane, Gavin and Kylee, Amy, Kiri, Mary-Alice, Patricia and Connor, great-grandfather of Courtland, Mia, Liam, Isabella and Connor. Very many thanks to all his caregivers over the past 2 and a half years. A funeral service for Jim will be held at St Dominic’s Church, 34 Bolton St, Blockhouse Bay, on Friday 23 January at 10.30 am. Published Thursday, January 22 2009, The New Zealand Herald.


Delivered by Jim’s grandson Marc D Barton, the son of John and Mary Tinneny Barton, at Saint Dominic’s Catholic Church, Auckland New Zealand, January 23, 2008

Reverend Father, Ladies and Gentlemen on behalf of the Tinneny family I would like to thank you for being here today to share in the celebration of Jim’s life as a father, a grandfather and great-grandfather.

Jim was born in Roslea, Co Fermanagh, N Ireland where he attended the local school until he left at the age of 15 when he then took up various local jobs in the area.  None of these seemed to suit Jim so he decided to seek his fortune elsewhere and joined the Irish Army.  This was a short lived career move and Jim then went on to join the opposition, by signing up with the RAF no less!  Two years later Jim was on the move again and after returning to

Roslea he then decided to venture further afield by migrating to New Zealand in 1949.

In Auckland he soon tracked down old friends from his hometown of Roslea – these being the McCaffery and Mulligan families and both continue to be life long friends of the family to this day.

Jim settled into his new life in Auckland and secured a position as a Postie.  It was while on his rounds that he first ‘eyed up’ his wife to be, Mary, and they married in 1952.  In the proceeding years they had 5 children to complete the family unit.

Once again Jim changed his career and went on to become a painter and decorator under the guidance of CFM [Conway, Finnegan & McKeever], a shared passion for the horses and the love a ‘cold beer’ again forged another life long friendship.

Sadly in 1968 Jim’s wife passed away and this led him to make the decision to return with his 5 children to his hometown of Roslea.

After numerous years Jim returned to New Zealand and once again took up residence in Blockhouse Bay.  It didn’t take him long to re-establish old friendships and he became a well know identity in the Bay. 

His love of garage sales soon earned him the reputation of having an eye for a bargain, enough to rival any antique dealer!  Jim loved to walk and was often seen around the Bay, stopping at regular intervals for a ‘wee’ chat, which could last anything up to an hour!!

Unfortunately Jim’s health declined and in 2006 he took up residence first at Powley House and then on to Peacehaven.  Jim soon endeared himself to all the staff with his gentle nature, dignified manners and twinkling blue Irish eyes but sadly, those blue eyes were to twinkle no more and Jim finally found peace and rest on Monday night.