The death has been announced of one of the RNLI’s most treasured volunteers, Santiago “Jimmy” Balbontin.
Jimmy who was Chairman of the Wicklow RNLI passed away on Tuesday while in the care of Wicklow Hospice.
Jimmy and his late wife Elizabeth were dedicated to the RNLI and never missed an event or fundraiser, despite his illness he attended the Wicklow RNLI open day on the August Bank Holiday last Sunday week he was also a member of the Wicklow Lion’s club.
Word of his death spread quickly across the county where he was also know for his wonderful cooking as well as the RNLI.
In 2018 Jimmy in solidarity with his wife Elizabeth shaved his head while she was going through Chemotherapy for ovarian cancer, at the time Jimmy said “She was losing her hair because of cancer and I turned up with my head shaved we both laughed and then cried, I would do anything for her.” Sadly Elizabeth died in March of 2019.
Wicklow RNLI posted the following tribute on Social Media.
Today, we lost one of our greats. Our Chairman Santiago (Jimmy) Balbontin passed away earlier today. That warm Chilean smile for everyone he met our came in contact with and he had a hug that would melt all your worries away.
His dedication and that of his late wife Elizabeth, to Wicklow RNLI was always at the fore of anything they set out to do. His many long service medals were testament to that.
As a fundraising branch, we are all broken hearted. He wasn’t just our chairman, he was our friend. He stuck it out till the bitter end, having attended station open day on the August Bank Holiday weekend
We will all shed a heartfelt tear over the coming days, but there is comfort in knowing he is now reunited with his sweetie Elizabeth.
Santiago, may you rest in peace and sail into the sunset with Elizabeth. We will never forget you.”
Jimmy will be reposing at McCrea’s Funeral Home, Dublin Road, Wicklow Town (A67E003) on Thursday morning at 11.30am with removal at 1.30pm to St. Patrick’s Church, Wicklow Town arriving for 2.00pm Funeral Mass, which can also be viewed by clicking on Santiago’s Funeral Mass followed by Cremation Service in McCrea’s Cremation Chapel, Dublin Road, Wicklow Town (A67E003) at 3.15pm. all welcome. Those unable to attend, the Service can be viewed by clicking on McCrea’s Cremation Chapel (viewing at time of service only).