Leo Kennedy, a well-known and respected member of the Irish timber trade, died suddenly on December 16 at home in Sutton, Dublin.

Mr Kennedy entered the Irish timber importing trade in the 1970s, working with James McMahon, Buckley’s and Thomas Dockerall, and subsequently joined the Dublin-based timber agent Belwood in 1977 under Michael Raben, who represented a range of international shippers, including Seaboard from Canada.

Through this Canadian agency connection, in 1978 came the first Irish sales of MDF to Brooks Haughton in Cork from Medford Corporation, Oregon, US.

In 1987 Leo and Heather Kennedy formed LH Kennedy & Co Ltd in Dublin, representing Medite Europe Ltd as the Irish sales agent both in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. This continued throughout the period of substantial market growth and corporate ownership changes that involved Willamette Industries, Weyerhaeuser Company and subsequently Coillte at the end of 2006.

In 1988 LH Kennedy established a new agency with the Finnish softwood shipper Enso Timber Ltd under the leadership of Eero Larvio. The first contract was a consignment for Heiton Buckley, shipped in March 1988. The business grew steadily over the years following the unique strategy to promote top quality joinery redwood in the traditionally whitewood dominated market. This continued as the group evolved into Stora Enso. LH Kennedy also developed other agency supply connections for the Irish market with shippers in a variety of materials and from around the world.

Mr Kennedy worked seriously in the industry, was well-respected, knowledgeable and worked hard, with others, to maintain the annual traditional Irish trade golfing event so well supported by members of the trade in Ireland, the UK and Scandinavia. Those who attended will all have happy memories of those days.

A member of Rotary, Mr Kennedy was involved in many charitable good causes and was recently honoured in Dublin for his outstanding work with this organisation.

The funeral was held at St Fintans, Sutton, Dublin on December 20. Mr Kennedy is survived by his partner Denise, her son Mark, his children Aoife, Neil and Megan and their mother Heather.