VIOLET Aiken lived for her family and died peacefully at Craigavon Area Hospital on Friday, December 21, surrounded by their love.
The Dollingstown woman started her life in Lisbellaw, County Fermanagh, on February 24, 1935, and was one of 12 children born to David and Margaret Millar.
She spent her early years there enjoying country life at the family home at Drumad just outside the village and often told tales of being chased by a particularly mean rooster.
Growing up Violet enjoyed the dances which were such a part of life at that time - but often had to sneak out her bedroom window to attend such functions.
She was known as a talented singer and would perform at travelling shows and talent competitions and won prizes.
Away from her social life Violet worked in the textile industry, first at Henderson and Edie’s premises in Lisbellaw - where she was running two looms - and later at the Adria factory in Fermanagh.
Violet then met the love of her life, Ballinamallard man Henry Aiken, and they married in September 1966 after Henry’s somewhat unique proposal. Asked what he would do if he won the pools, Henry replied ‘I’d marry you.” Violet, not missing her chance, said: “Sure you don’t have to win the pools to marry me.”
It was to be the start of a very happy life together and the couple had two sons, Clint and Glenn.
Violet took great pride in her boys, working hard, with Henry always at her side, to give them every possible advantage in life.
The family moved to Dollingstown in 1978 and quickly became very much part of the fabric of life in the village.
A devoted member of the St Saviour’s congregation, Violet attended regularly and made sure both her boys attended the Sunday school - whether they liked it or not.
Violet was a giving person and took up work as a home help assisting a number of elderly people in the village, often going well above the call of duty. For her they were more than clients, they were friends.
After her work as a home help she then began baby-sitting for friends and family around the village, her generous and giving nature very much to the fore.
She quite simply had ‘a heart of corn’ and nothing was too much trouble for her.
Violet also took great pride in her home at Gilpin Park, it was always spick and span and yet a warm and welcoming place for the family and visitors alike.
She was never one to complain and this was very much in evidence on one occasion when she had a slight accident while cleaning.
Violet had been washing the front step when she fell and landed awkwardly on her leg - breaking two bones in the process.
Quickly recovering her composure Violet stretched her legs out in front of her until she figured out what to do next - all the while continuing to clean the step around her.
A neighbour walked past and the pair exchanged the usual pleasantries, Violet obviously failing to mention her predicament. As the woman passed on by, she halted in some puzzlement to ask: “Are you alright?” Violet’s reply: “No, actually I think I’ve broke my leg.”
As she recovered from her injury her always faithful husband stepped in to take on the household chores, displaying the strong partnership the couple maintained throughout their married life. His fish and white sauce for tea have long since passed into family legend.
Violet quite simply lived for family and when living in Fermanagh it was a weekend routine to visit her brothers and sisters who had moved ‘up the country’ to Gilford. After the move to Dollingstown the journey reversed as she, Henry and the boys would travel to Lisbellaw to stay in close touch with the family there.
The battles fought on the ludo board with her brother Dessie and sister Gertie could often be heard well beyond the four walls of their respective homes during family get togethers.
In her twilight year’s Violet’s health began to fail but never her good humour. Visits with and from her sons were the highlight of her week.
Unfortunately those health problems mounted up and it all became too much. She was admitted to Craigavon Hospital on Sunday, December 9, where her last battle took place. As the problems mounted against her she passed very quietly and peacefully at Ward 2 North in Craigavon Hospital on Friday, December 21.
She was laid to rest in Magheralin Churchyard on Christmas Eve following a service in her home church of St Saviour’s, Dollingstown. Funeral arrangements by Malcomson Funeral Directors.
Violet will be sadly missed by her husband Henry, son Clint and his wife Paula, son Glenn and his fiancee Lisa Thompson. She will also be missed by her brothers Dougie, Dessie and Ernie. She was predeceased by her brothers Wallace, Andy, Davy and Tommy and her sisters Betty, Peggy, Nellie and Gertie.
The family have passed on their thanks to the medical staff at Craigavon Area Hospital for their diligent and professional care, to Malcomsons for their respectful treatment and to Rev Gareth Harron for his continued dedication and support. Thanks were also expressed to all the family, friends and neighbours who called at the house or sent messages of sympathy.