FAMILY, friends and clubmates have paid tribute to a dedicated St Peter’s man who died last week.
52-year-old Dessie McVeigh has been described as a “wonderful friend” and a “great husband”.
Dessie, who was originally from Aghagallon, died last Monday (September 12).
The St Peter’s man was a coach with the Gaelic club’s minor team and was seen as a mentor by many of the youngsters.
His wife Margaret said she will miss everything about him.
“He was a great husband,” she said.
“Nobody will ever replace him. He was also a devoted father and grandfather.
“When we depended on him he was always there for us.”
Dessie, who lived in Portland Manor, was an ardent Armagh and Antrim follower.
“He wouldn’t have missed a match,” said his son Aiden.
“Even when he brought me to the Armagh matches, he insisted on wearing his Antrim top. Everyone used to look at him because of it.”
Margaret first met Dessie when she was just 18. They had celebrated their 32nd wedding anniversary back in March.
“I met him outside a chippy in Edward Street,” said Margaret.
“We then had our first date soon after at the Glenavy Dance.”
His daughter Sarah continued: “He always hated being late. You couldn’t be late for anything.
“Even when we were going to the 10 o’clock mass on a Sunday, he would have us there at half nine.”
Dessie’s family described him as a “deeply religious man”, and said he was looking forward to the re-opening of St Peter’s Chapel.
He will also be missed at St Teresa’s Primary School, where he took the after-school football sessions.
Such was his keenness to help others, Dessie received his gold badge for donating a total of 50 pints of blood just weeks before he died.
His death happened on the first anniversary of fellow St Peter’s man Gavin Devlin.
St Peter’s secretary Anne Marie Moore described this as a “double blow” for the Distillery Hill club.
“Everybody at the club was devastated when they heard about Dessie,” she said.
“At a time when everyone was thinking of the Devlin family, it was a double blow.
“I knew him for ten years, and I have never heard him being anything but encouraging to the youngsters.
“He was seen by the younger players as a mentor and, indeed, a good friend.
“He never missed a thing. If he said he would do something for you, especially for the club, you could count on him to do it.”
Anne Marie added: “His personality shone through everything he did. He is a big loss to the game and will be sorely missed.
“His death will leave a massive gap in the club.”
The McVeigh family said they were “extremely grateful” for the support they got from St Peter’s.
“We will never forget the support the club gave us,” said Margaret.
“We are extremely grateful for that. The minor team were great. The guard of honour they did during his funeral was very touching.”
Comments by younger members of the club on Facebook highlighted his popularity.
One player on the senior team said: “Gone but will never be forgotten. A true gent and friend. My heart goes out to the family. Rest in peace, Dessie McVeigh. One we will all sadly miss.”
Another friend said: “Dessie McVeigh- a true gentleman. A great mentor and a even better friend. Thanks for the memories.”
Dessie was buried in St Colman’s Cemetery last Thursday (September 15) following a mass in St Peter’s Temporary Church.
He is survived by his wife Margaret, children Sean, Sarah, Aiden and Laura, grandson Oliver and son-in-law Paul.