Rev David Somerville to be laid to rest

Supplied by friend
Supplied by friend

The funeral of Rev David Somerville, Rector of St Matthew’s Church in Richhill will take place later today (details below).

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He was educated at Lurgan College before going on to Stranmillis to train as a teacher.

For 17 years he worked as a teacher until, at the age of 38, he decided to go into the ministry.

After three years of training at Stranmillis he took up his first post as a curate at Christ Church in Lisburn.

Before moving to Richhill he was at Rathfriland and Ballyward.

In fact Rathfriland was one of the places he taught so he knew people when he returned as a minister.

Rev Somerville’s son said he was “overwhelmed” by the outpouring of tributes to him.

Ian Somerville, 33, said the death of his father at the age of 57 has been “a terrible shock and we weren’t expecting to be at this stage for a long, long time”.

The father-of-three - who was serving in St Matthew’s Church of Ireland in Richhill - died on Saturday morning.

“He was a young man with a lot of life still in him,” his son said.

“He was an active man; a fit, healthy man and he was always very busy with the parish and his ministry.

“He had good health although he had all the wee complaints we all have. He had the flu recently but he was in perfect health apart from that.

“The doctors aren’t really sure what happened. He just suddenly deteriorated and that was it.”

Mr Somerville added that “one thing about my dad was that he always had time for you”.

“No matter what he was doing, he always had time for you and was only a phone call away,” he said.

“He was the rock of the family and was a tremendous support for everyone – it is hard to take.”

Mr Somerville added that the family “fully believed he would have been here in Richhill to the end of his ministry and he had only been here two-and-a-half years – he loved it”.

The grieving son said his father - who had taught religious education for 17 years in Rathfriland High School - decided to go for the ministry when he was 38.

He said his father had also been a minister in Rathfriland for 10 years.

“He was a wonderful father. I couldn’t have asked for anything more in a father,” said Mr Somerville.

“He has three children - I am the eldest, then my sister Sarah and then nine-year-old Dan who came at a later stage in life.

“That is the heartbreak but there is a good family around him.

“My daddy was remarried to May and they have been together for 11 years and were very, very happy together.”

Rev Somerville was the son of Tom Somerville, who was well known in Lurgan and surrounding areas.

Tom, who died in 2004, was a teacher at Lurgan Boys Junior High School and was extremely well known in the Boys’ Brigade where he served for 40 years as Company Captain with Knocknamuckley.

The funeral service for Rev Somerville will be held at 1pm today (Monday) in St Matthew’s Church in Richhill.