One of the area’s true characters Felix Reynolds has died following a long stay in hospital.
Felix, who was 74, had been suffering from pains in his legs and had been trying private physiotherapy to alleviate the problem.
But back in March, he went to the A&E at Craigavon Area Hospital where the illness was diagnosed as leukaemia - he was admitted that same day and died on Monday past.
His great lifelong friend Seamus McQuaid said, “It came as a terrible shock to all who knew him – and few people in Portadown didn’t know Felix Reynolds. He was a true character.”
Having grown up in Portadown Felix moved to Lurgan after his marriage to the former Maureen McCrory. But there was scarcely a day in life when he didn’t travel across to Portadown to meet up with his old friends. He was always immaculately turned out in suit, shirt and tie, and his well-groomed white hair stood him out from the crowd. He loved nothing better than a good chat.
He always thumbed a lift from Lurgan until he qualified for his bus pass and that was a good alternative. But his ‘regulars’ would often collect him at the bus stop and drive him to Portadown, where he enjoyed a regular ‘pint’ with his mates and had a flutter on the horses.
People of Felix’s vintage remember him as a superb footballer, who could have made it in the ‘big time’ had he taken the game more seriously.
A gifted midfielder, in the modern jargon, he had fantastic ball control and ran defenders at every level a merry dance.
He played for the revered All-Blacks in the Portadown Summer League in the Public Park and for Millview in the Mid Ulster, both being truly integrated teams. As well as Seamus McQuaid, team mates included ‘Sticky’ Knipes, Joe McGrath, Michael Jackson and Ernie Thornton.
During his football days, he signed for Glentoran – where he won a Gold Cup medal - had a spell with Dundalk and went “across the water” to Brighton. “But,” said Seamus, “he couldn’t bear being away from Maureen and didn’t stay in Brighton too long.”
Howard Best, who played football with Felix at various levels, including the Glens, recalled that he had been in the famous Glentoran side that beat Linfield on Christmas Day. “Legends like Billy Neill and Walter Bruce really rated him,” Howard added. “And when Felix played at Brighton, his opponents included England’s Jimmy Armfield. He could really have made it in England.”
He returned home to Maureen, they were married and lived in Lurgan, their last home was at Monbrief Walk in Taghnevan. Their family is – Teresa, Alison, Roisin, Seana, Rory and Mark.
Felix was also the grandfather of nine – he was heartbroken when one of them died a couple of years ago – and great-grandfather of five. He loved every generation of the family.
Felix McReynolds was brought up at River Lane in Portadown, one of a family of five. His siblings were Dorothy, Eugene, Jimmy and Kitty.
He went to St Columba’s Primary School in Carleton Street, and had a number of jobs after that – in factories like Denny’s, Exquisite Fabrics, Goodyear and Grew’s Mill.
Felix was also a talented singer and was one of a group called ‘The Tridents’ which included his sister Dorothy as well as Joe and Matt Hanratty. They played at various local venues like The Regal and Portadown Town Hall, once or twice appearing on the same bill as Frank Carson when he ‘did’ the halls all over Northern Ireland.
He and Seamus McQuiad often travelled down south where he loved attending the major race meeting, and Seamus commented, “He was great company, a great character. I have to admit that we’d take ourselves on a trip to the south when he was supposed to be playing for the Glens. But that was Felix!”
His outgoing presence will certainly be missed in the centre of Portadown, and he will be missed most of all by generations of the family who adored him.
Many of his old Portadown pals attended the Requiem Mass at St Paul’s Roman Catholic Church in Lurgan on Wednesday which was packed for the occasion by all sides of the community from both towns.
The Mass was conducted by Monseigneur Hamill and burial was at St Colman’s Cemetery in Lurgan.