A retired consultant radiologist remembered for the ‘joy, laughter, positivity and love he brought into the lives of others’, has been laid to rest.
Dr Alexander Matthew McCurdy passed away at his Seapatrick Road home, Banbridge on Monday, January 30.
Rev Wilfred Orr paid tribute to Dr McCurdy and the esteem in which he was held, at a funeral service in Bannside Presbyterian on Friday.
Known to his friends as either Matt or Hew depending on what part of the country he was in, Matthew was born on April 30, 1931, to Alec and Annie McCurdy.
The youngest of three children, he was raised on the family farm outside Bushmills with his two sisters, Dorothy and Margaret.
Matt’s education started at the age of seven in Castlecatt Public Elementary Primary and then as a boarder at Coleraine Academical Institution before he gained a scholarship at 17 to enter Trinity College, Dublin to study Medicine.
Matt worked in the Adelaide Hospital, Dublin where he met his future wife, Lorna, who was a student nurse.
After marrying in Dublin on July 4, 1957, they moved north where he spent some years as a GP in Newry.
He often reminisced about life in this rural practice and as home deliveries were common place during this time, he was proud that several babies were named after him, as the attending Doctor.
It was at this time that Matt and Lorna started their own family having three children, Helen, David and Patricia.
After their fist child Helen, Matt specialised in Radiology at the Royal Victoria Hospital and obtained a position as Consultant Radiologist for the Banbridge/Lurgan area.
These were the days of ‘old school’ medicine in the small country hospital, and Matt, as the consultant on Christmas Day, carved the turkey on the ward for the patients. His children have fond memories of helping to serve dinner, pulling crackers and entertaining everyone.
As the Health Service progressed into more modern times, Craigavon Area Hospital was built. Matt helped to design and set up an ultra modern x-ray department and moved in as the only consultant radiologist, where he remained until his retirement.
Some of Matt’s many hobbies in his younger days included golf, fishing, rugby, horse-riding and in particular, dancing.
One memorable occasion was recalled when he sneaked out of the house, against his parents’ wishes, cycled from Bushmills to the Arcadia Ballroom, Portrush for a night’s dancing. He was only caught out when his photograph appeared on the front page of the local newspaper, having won a dancing competition.
In later life, Matt’s hobbies became more expensive as his passion for classic and vintage cars grew. He spent many hours on cold winter nights in his garage with friends, building his classic collection.
As a member of Banbridge Vintage Car Club, he was also involved in the organisation of the annual car show at the Slieve Donard Hotel, Newcastle, to raise funds for Cancer Research.
As patriarch of the family, Matt was always ready to give guidance. He was frequently called upon for medical advice and it was recalled how on one occasion when asked to check if his granddaughter’s arm was broken, he offered her a favourite chocolate bar. When she immediately reached to grasp it he knew no further treatment was needed.
Matt enjoyed nothing more than a good get-together, as was evident from the huge party held on his and Lorna’s 50th wedding anniversary.
He was an optimist always looking on the bright side of life. No matter what trials he had to endure his usual response was, ‘it’s only another chapter in my life.’ Matt was a true family man and due to his passionate nature always enjoyed a good debate.
He was a humble man, never introducing himself as Dr McCurdy - always just Matt.
He inspired those around him, laughed and lived every day to the full.
Matthew was the devoted husband of Lorna, loving dad to Helen, David and Patricia and their spouses, Andres, Anee and Karl and proud grandfather to Gemma, Alexandra, Victoria, Olivia, Alexander and Thomas.
William Bell and Co had charge of the funeral and donations in lieu of flowers can be sent to them at 23 Kenlis Street, Banbridge, BT32 3LR for Chest Heart and Stroke and Cancer Research NI.