Legend is a word often used in the wrong context but when it comes to Jim Thompson, it is very apt as he certainly was a legend to the community of north Lurgan.
A Freecrow man born and bred, Jim was one of the most highly regarded gentlemen in the Lurgan community, a man who gave selflessly to others and helped many in need.
In 1949 he was born into the close-knit community of Freecrow - the son of Bridie and Eddie Thompson.
“He was a Freecrow man to the back bone,” said his daughter Marie-Clare Fleville.
He came from a large family - his brothers and sisters are Ann, Maurice, Tony, Briege, Marie and Eddie.
Jim started school in St Peter’s in North Street and went on to become a welder by trade in Ulster Street.
He met his wife Geraldine Greene at a disco in Banbridge when she was just 16. It was love at first sight and the pair got married on Boxing Day when she was just 17 years old.
It was a long and very happy marriage with the couple celebrating 46 years of wedded bliss.
Jim and Geraldine had eleven children, Ciaran, Seanna, Marie-Clare, Emma-Jane, Gina, Michaela, Nicholas, Christian, Christina, Colin and Carly and 14 grandchildren.
He was the epitome of a man who put his family first and thrived on helping his neighbours and friends.
He lived in Lurgantarry all his married life and never had an argument with any of his neighbours.
Indeed he was very keen to welcome new neighbours and help them settle in.
He was the handyman of the estate. Jim was the ‘go-to’ man when people needed odd jobs done, always on the go and helping anyone who needed him.
He could turn his hand to anything and was a joiner and a glazer - fitting windows.
Jim was extremely highly regarded by everyone in north Lurgan. Indeed popping out to the local shop took more than half a hour as he chatted to everyone he met.
He adored and cherished his wife Geraldine and it was often commented on just how much he loved her.
Jim was primarily a family man and loved nothing better than opening a few beers in the evening and spending time with his family.
He led a simple life but it was full of good and thoughtful deeds but first and foremost he loved being surrounded by his family.
He was a soccer fan and loved Barcelona but his favourite sport was boxing and he was an avid fan of Mohammad Ali. Though he followed local boxing very closely and gave a big support to local star Stephen Haughian.
He owned one car which was famous in the area - a Toyota Avensis and every evening like clockwork for around 18 years he left the house with his son-in-law Dermot Stevenson, tooting the horn and heading to the shops at 7pm.
Both he and Geraldine were huge TV fans and the couple would plan their weeks viewing and stick to it.
He was Geraldine’s rock, adored by his siblings who he spoke to every day and worshiped by his children and grandchildren.
Jim was a big presence - he filled a room with his presence, highly respected by all who knew him.
Though a laid-back character and a simple man, Jim did enjoy playing practical jokes.
His faith was a major part of his life. Jim was a very faithful Catholic who said the Rosary every evening. Even on his death bed he was praying and blessing himself.
His family were his life and he had a nickname for each of his 14 grandchildren and managed to give them all pocket money every week.
Jim will be a huge loss to his family and to the entire north Lurgan community.
He was held in such high standing that news of his passing led to thousands of messages on social media expressing condolences and remembering a man of high-regard.
Indeed during the two days of his wake, hundreds of people visited the family home to pay their respects and bring Mass Cards.
The family would like to thank everyone who visited or paid their respects.
Jim was a giant of a man within his community of north Lurgan and a rock to his family and friends.