For many, it's difficult to imagine the Dublin Irish Festival without Tom Murnane.

For many, it's difficult to imagine the Dublin Irish Festival without Tom Murnane.

The longtime festival volunteer, father, husband and businessman died Feb. 11.

Murnane volunteered for the Dublin Irish Festival for more than 25 years, taking the Adult Best of the Fest volunteer award in 2003 and the Best of the Fest Leadership award in 2010.

"He's the only person who has individually gotten two Best of the Fest awards," said Alison LeRoy, festival organizer and Dublin events manager.

Dublin Events Administrator Mary Jo DiSalvo said she can't remember a time when Murnane didn't help out at the festival.

"I feel like I've lost a brother," she said. "I feel like I've lost somebody who always had my back. He had passion for this community and did everything very humbly."

With more than 25 years volunteering for the Dublin Irish Festival, DiSalvo said Murnane made himself useful in every way.

"He was here from the time the festival was on the tennis courts and was instrumental in its growth," DiSalvo said.

"He probably did every job there is to do for the festival throughout more than 25 years along with his wife, Kathy ... he's been involved in every part of the festival from planning to being on-site all three days of the festival to do everything and anything we would need done."

In recent years, Murnane was volunteer chairman of the sponsorship committee, extending his brand of Irish hospitality to all, DiSalvo said.

"I feel like I need to work harder to make sure Tom is honored," she said.

"The festival is about community building and relationships and he was at the heart of that. He inspired me and many people to do the best we can.

"He was like a mentor to me."

Sue Lock, director of corporate and community partnerships at Scotts Miracle Grow, was one of many sponsor companies Murnane worked with.

"I think Tom just really embodied the spirit of the Dublin Irish Festival," Lock said.

"You could really tell his passion and commitment for the organization and the city of Dublin.

"Tom was the type of person who wore so many hats. If you needed signs put up he would help you with anything. Tom was that go-to person."

Murnane had already been working to secure sponsors for this year's festival with his can-do, energetic attitude.

"It's going to be a big hole for us to fill," LeRoy said.

Along with hours upon hours spent volunteering for the Dublin Irish Festival, Murnane was also involved in the Shamrock Club and volunteer efforts elsewhere.

Murnane is survived by his wife Kathy, sons Brendan and Joe, daughter-in-law Linda and grandson Aidan.