Local woman Mrs Rose Eleanor (Ella) McKeown recently passed away, 31 years to the day after the death of her late husband Samuel.
Ella passed away peacefully, at home, on May 28, after a long and active life; she was 94 years old.
Born in Belfast, raised for a time in Ballyward and Ballyroney and later resident at Fedney, Ella was an active member of Garvaghy Presbyterian Church, a one-time employee of Dromore Hemstitching Company and an honorary member of the Skeogh Ulster Unionist branch.
She was born on January 28, 1921 to Jeannie and Frederick Norman Hamilton; both her parents were deaf, as was her brother John.
Ella was the voice and ears of her parents and an able sign-language user.
Her father was a tailor with Parsons and Parsons of Belfast and Ella was to follow in his footsteps, becoming proficient at sewing.
In time the family moved, first to Ballyward, where Ella attended the old Ballyward Primary School, and later to Ballyroney, Ella attending Drumadonnell Primary School.
On leaving school she secured employment, through her local doctor, with Lord and Lady Roden in Tullymore Castle.
There she lived during the working week, cycling home at weekends.
Following her marriage, to Samuel McKeown, Ella moved to Fedney, where she had her four children, Sylvia, Jim, Maureen and Angela; when they were older she joined in the activities of Garvaghy Presbyterian Church, where a PWA had been formed by the Rev J.A Todd’s wife Phillippa, Mrs Elsie Meeke and Mrs Maria Corbett.
For Ella many happy times were spent in the PWA, where she forged great friendships, as indeed she did while employedat Dromore Hemstitching Company as an able embroidery machinist
After retiring, she remained active in the community as well as nursing her husband and her father until their deaths.
Her sewing skills made her many friends and she was always helpful when some alteration had to be made, or indeed a bridal outfit had to be made. Her’s was an open door for everyone and she had many callers who enjoyed her sense of humour.
In particular she was always pleased to see her friends and neighbours.
Ella’s late husband was politically active and, in a desire to carry on his work, she joined the Skeagh Ulster Unionist branch, of which she remained an honorary member upon her death.
She came to the end of her life surrounded by family and is survived by daughter Sylvia and her husband Cecil Newell, son Jim and his wife Elizabeth, daughter Maureen and her husband Kenneth Hamilton, daughter Angela and her husband Billy Green, grandchildren Gary and Neil Newell, Brian and Robert McKeown, Emma and Rachael Hamilton, Adam and Mark Green, great-grandchildren Katherine and David Newell, Louisa and Thomas Newell, Erin and Aela McKeown, Callum and Rory Mckeown, Lily and Maise Broadhead, niece Mrs Jeanette Borley and nephews Ian and David Hamilton.
Ella’s funeral was to Garvaghy Presbyterian Church, the Rev Brian Martin officiating at the home and church, Edna Ferguson presiding at the organ.
Hymns included ‘How great thou Art’, and Ella’s favourite ‘The Lord’s my Shepherd’, while friend of the family, Stephanie McConville, sang ‘The old Rugged Cross’ and ‘Looking this Way’ as the cortege made its way out of the church.
Interment followed in Garvaghy Parish Church graveyard.