Raymond McDonald, a Banbridge man well known in the building trade, died suddenly at Craigavon Area Hospital early on the evening of July 5.
Although he had been confined to his home at Ballygowan Park for much of the past two years, the end came particularly suddenly after he was rushed to the hospital where he passed away peacefully surrounded by his family.
Raymond, who had celebrated his 74th birthday a month earlier, was the second youngest of a family of nine boys and two girls, and was born in Ballaney outside Dromore in 1941, son of the late David and Sadie McDonald.
After leaving Mount Ida school he was employed briefly in the Down Shoes factory before going into the building trade, where he worked up until his retirement nine years ago.
Raymond’s speciality in the trade was plaster-boarding, and such was the quality of his workmanship that his services were in demand all over Ireland and often in Scotland.
In 1958 Raymond met Barbara Close and they married in Banbridge 1961, going on to have a family of four sons and three daughters.
They set up home in Huntly Bungalows, but in May 1968 suffered a blow when their house was burnt to the ground in an accidental fire which sadly claimed the life of a neighbour.
Then in March 1980 the McDonald family was devastated when Raymond and Barbara’s second youngest son Steven was killed, aged just nine, by a fire engine as he walked along Reilly Street to Edenderry Primary School.
An accomplished crossword buff, Raymond’s other varied interests included pipe banding, following political debate and watching news, football and horse racing on television.
But his main focus was on his home and family, where as well as his devoted wife Barbara, he leaves sons Gary, Paul and Keith, and daughters Janice, Karen and Julie, as well as eight grandsons and eight granddaughters.
He is also survived by brothers Josie (Dromore), David (Newport) and Norman (Dromore) and sisters Nellie (Dromore) and Edie (Australia), as well as more than 50 nephews and nieces.
After a poignant service in the home ,Raymond’s funeral took place on Wednesday July 8 in Holy Trinity Parish Church. The service was conducted by the Venerable Roderic West, and followed by interment in the New Cemetery where he was buried alongside his late son Steven.
The hymns ‘What a Friend we Have in Jesus’ and ‘Abide with Me’ were sung with Mr Roly Anketell presiding at the organ.
Family flowers were placed on the coffin, with donations in lieu going to the Craigavon Area Hospital Comforts Fund with cheques payable to the Comforts Fund care of James Minnis & Son, Bann House, 33 Castlewellan Road, Banbridge, BT32 4JQ who had charge of the funeral arrangements.