DONEGAL businessman Michael Sharma has been remembered as a “gentleman” and a “great teacher” following his death.
Mr Sharma, who was Managing Director of the Castlefinn-based clothing firm Nena Models, passed away peacefully in Spain on Tuesday. He was aged 90.
In its heyday Nena Models provide fashionwear to top high street brands including Dunne’s Stores, Littlewoods, Brown Thomas and A-Wear. At its height it employed hundreds of workers at its East Donegal outlets.
Speaking yesterday Councillor Gary Doherty said Castlefinn and the wider area owed a debt of gratitude to Michael Sharma and his family.
“Here in Castlefinn we had Porter’s and we had Nena Models and between them they would have employed many hundreds of people. The factories kept families going and were a hugely valuable resource in enabling people to remain at home rather than having to move away for work.
“Nena Models was the economic lifeblood of this area and there is barely a family around here that did not have someone belonging to them working there at some point.
“In terms of Michael and his family, the Finn Valley was their home and we are blessed that some of them still live here. As well as providing employment, the Sharma family have immersed themselves in the local community and the community here will always be grateful for what they have brought to this area,” Councillor Doherty added.
Former employees also took to social media yesterday to offer their condolences to the Sharma family.
So sorry to hear the sad news,” wrote Margaret Gallagher.
“He was my boss for over 15 years when I worked in the office in Nena Models from 1974 to 1989. Some good memories during that time. My sincere condolences to all the Sharma family.”
Lynn McDaid added, “So sorry to hear of the death of Mr Sharma, he was a true gentleman. I remember him when I worked in the Castlefinn factory, a great boss. Thinking on all the family at this sad time.”
John Watson of Watson Hire said simply, “My first employer. Learned a lot from this gentleman. A great teacher. Rest in peace.”
Michael Sharma was pre-deceased by his late wife Kathleen and his daughter Imelda. He is survived by his children Nena, Paul, Jerry, Anita and Sonia and is mourned by his wide family circle.
Cremation took place yesterday in Tanatorio, San Pedro, Spain.