Rev Canon William Reginald (Reggie) Twaddell MBE served as a Church of Ireland minister for over 50 years, with more than half of his career in the North Armagh area - 14 years at Milltown, Birches, and 17 years at St Mark’s, Portadown.
He and his wife, Mrs Eveline Twaddell, loved the area so much that they settled in Milltown after he retired 16 years ago. They enjoyed life as parishioners in the lively, rural church, which he had served so diligently as Rector.
Canon Twaddell (83) passed away peacefully at Lurgan Hospital. The family members wish to place on record their grateful thanks for the wonderful, compassionate care he received from the staff.
As well as Mrs Twaddell, he is survived by sons Stephen and Mark, daughters-in-law Pauline and Jo, grandchildren Niall, Sarah, Helen and Teddy. He was predeceased by brothers Bertie and Eric.
Reggie Twaddell came originally from Belfast. One of his favourite stories was that – in keeping with his chosen career - he was born in Jerusalem Street in the city’s ‘Holy Land’! His ‘home’ church was All Saints Church of Ireland in the city.
He was educated at Botanic Primary School in South Belfast, and went from there to Belfast High School. His first ambition was to enter the teaching profession, and he qualified through Stranmillis College, gaining a post at Carr’s Glen where he remained for five years.
He was married at that stage – the wedding was at First Keady Presbyterian Church – when he answered The Call to the Church of Ireland ministry.
After training through Trinity College, Dublin, he was ordained as Curate at Whiterock, Belfast, after which he was appointed Rector of Loughgilly, County Armagh, the county where he spent the remainder of his ministry. He was appointed to the status of Canon during his time in Portadown.
In his retirement, he helped in various parishes in the Kilmore Diocese where his wisdom and experience were greatly treasured.
The Service of Thanksgiving for the life of Canon Reggie Twaddell was held at Milltown Parish Church, where the current Rector, Rev Matthew Milliken, told the packed congregation, “You could come to Canon Reggie about anything, any problem or situation, and you knew he would give you the best of advice.
“He was a wonderful Christian man, minister of the Gospel, devoted husband, loving father, grandfather, true friend in the Lord to many, and he is now with Jesus.
“Canon Reggie came across many difficult situations, too, especially during his pastoral ministry, extending over 50 years, when he helped many at their greatest hour of need.
“Especially in his time as Rector at St Mark’s, at the height of the Troubles, he encountered many people whose lives were turned upside-down by tragedy. But as a faithful Christian minister of the Gospel, he was well equipped to always help when needed the most - by pointing us to God, the God who has suffered himself, and who suffered himself for us.”
Outside church and family, Canon Twaddell served the education sector with distinction – for which he received the MBE. He was a member of the Southern Education and Library Board and a school governor at Clounagh JHS, Millington and Ballyoran Primary Schools. His teaching and educational skills also meant that his various curates over the years were well grounded for the career that lay ahead of them.
His main relaxation was in the canine world. He bred Golden Retrievers and Cocker Spaniels, was a member of the Irish Canine Club and acted as judge at various shows over the years. As in his main career, his views and expertise were eagerly sought.
Rev Matthew Milliken conducted the funeral service, with the deceased’s grandson Niall Twaddell reading the Bible passage. Hymns were ‘Great Is Thy Faithfulness’ and ‘To God Be The glory’. Committal was in the adjoining Churchyard.