BROTHER James McKinley was a man who epitomised the drive and leadership of Wickliffe’s Invincible Morning Star LOL No 62.
In what is believed to be a first for the lodge, brethren formed a guard of honour at Dollingstown Orange Hall as Bro McKinley’s funeral cortege left the village.
It was a tearful farewell for the lodge’s longest serving member and one of Dollingstown’s favourite sons.
Bro McKinley was a respected and admired Orangeman who held all offices in the lodge over the past 70 years. Despite recent ill health he was the first man to turn up on the Twelfth morning, immaculately dressed.
At what was to be his last Twelfth he left the Dollingstown Orange Hall with a smile on his face to a standing ovation.
One of Bro McKinley’s lifetime ambitions was to visit the World War One Battlefields in France where his father was seriously injured and his uncle lost his life and he was able to fulfil this wish.
Bro McKinley was a Dollingstown man born and bred and loved to reminisce about the good old days and the great characters he grew up with. He often said they were hard times but that people were much happier. There is no doubt Dollingstown has lost one of its favourite sons and part of the history of Dollingstown has passed away with Bro McKinley.
He joined the Orange Order in 1943, following his father and grandfather into LOL No 62.
Bro McKinley was also a member of the Royal Black Institution (Maralin RBP No 100) and the Baker Club of the Apprentice Boys of Derry.
Bro McKinley told the Orange Standard in September of this year: “In the days when I joined the Orange Order and indeed until well after the war, there were not the same attractions competing with the Loyal Orders as is the case today.”
Bro McKinley was a champion for the Orange Order and even after a serious road accident which resulted in the loss of a leg Bro McKinley’s enthusiasm for the order was not dampened.
He told the Orange Standard: “It can be frustrating at times, as I am not able to get to lodge meetings or church services as often as I would like, but my family and friends have been very good and transport has been provided for me when available.”
Bro McKinley will never be forgotten in Wickliffe’s Invincible Morning Star LOL No 62 and his portrait smiles down on members every time they enter the Orange Hall.