A man you don’t meet every day

Patsy Crossey.
Patsy Crossey.

Patsy Crossey’s signature tune was ‘A Man You Don’t Meet Every Day’ and the same could be said of the man himself.

The 71-year-old who passed away earlier this month was extraordinarily passionate about Irish music, in fact he was a man who put his all into everything he was involved with.

Patsy was born in 1942 in Derrymacash to John and Josephine. He grew up in the village, going to school there until the age of 14 when he went to Lurgan Tech to train as a mechanic.

A man who was skilled with his hands, Patsy worked for German company D-Mac as well as Stubies. He started on the production floor before he got promoted to production manager.

Later he went out on his own and opened the Vac Centre in Hill Street fixing vacuum cleaners and washing machines. He moved to Church Place and even after retirement he was still known as ‘The Washing Machine Man’. The business is now run by his son John.

Patsy was pre-deceased by his wife Anne by nine months. They would have been married 50 years in January.

Together the couple, who lived most of their married lives in Richmount Gardens, had four children, all boys - Brendan, Conor, John and Finbar, and six grandchildren.

The Lurgan man loved his family and enjoyed life.

His son Brendan said: “He was a real family man. He loved every day. He was a big man with a big personality. He was always in the middle of things.”

Above all, Patsy, a self taught guitar and banjo player, lived for his music. In 2009 he was given the Banter Stone Award for the role he has played in encouraging and promoting folk music in Lurgan and beyond.

Brendan said: “He played a bit himself and would have been in bands when he was younger, but for him it was more about promoting it and bringing the next generation on. His rule was ‘one singer, one song’. He made sure everyone was given a bit of respect.

“Patsy was the man who controlled the session. He would even shush his own family.”

The McGeowns may own the Stables bar but Patsy ran the ‘wee room’.

Brendan said: “He had his own seat and he was in charge of the remote for the TV. The wee room in the Stables was his home from home. He was never happier than when he was conducting a session in the wee room with his family and friends.”

Daughter-in-law Tracy added: “Three of his grandchildren have followed in his footsteps and are involved in music.

That’s his legacy.”

Patsy, whose grandfather was ‘The Singing Postman’, was heavily involved in establishing and promoting the Tony Lavery Fleadh and enjoyed touring the fleadhs around Ireland.

Patsy’s other passions included fishing, horse racing and DIY. He was also streets ahead of his time when it came to cooking.

His daughter in law Tracy said: “He was travelling down to Belfast to get specialised ingredients before you could buy them in all the supermarkets. The kids were asking for burgers but Patsy was having none of it. He was cooking up masterpieces in the days before you had TV chefs.”

He was also involved in putting on Christmas dinner for the pensioners in the Stables and bringing St Patrick’s celebrations NYC style to Lurgan.

Brendan said: “He was involved in an awful lot. When you think about what he did he was rarely home. He had to be involved in something.”