I don't know who the gentleman was, but that story sounds very familiar. My husband's great grandparents were Hugh Joseph Devlin (1881-1955) and Mary Isabelle Clark (1883-1963). Hugh's parents were Hugh Devlin and Rose Darby.
My husband's late grandmother told me that Hugh went back to Ireland, but Rose would not go because she didn't want to leave the U.S. "because of the children."
I only know of eight children:
Rose (ca. 1874- ) m. William A. Murphy
Peter (1874- ) m. Mary (last name?)
John (1875- ) m. ?
Anne Ellen (ca. 1877- ) m. John Galbraith
Hugh Joseph (1881-1955) m. Mary Isabelle Clark
Thomas (Hugh's twin) (1881- )
Patrick Joseph "Joe" (1883-1963) m. Margaret ?
Mary (1888-1919) m. Charles S. Mangam
I think Hugh may have gone back to Ireland, but I also think he and Rose were separated before then. They recently released the 1905 New York census, and I found them both, but living in separate households in Brooklyn, each with some of their adult children.
Hugh, Sr. had quite a history, too. Found out that he served a few years in Sing Sing Prison for attacking and seriously injuring his foreman at the gas works. I can provide newspaper accounts if you're interested.
I'm also curious, since you posted this quite a while ago, did you ever locate the gentleman you were looking for?