Master Damien Lavery, a popular teacher who inspired generations in the Lurgan area, has passed away suddenly.
Mr Lavery, a Lurgan native, spent 28 years as a teacher at St Teresa’s Primary School where he was a highly regarded member of staff.
Though only 55 years old, Mr Lavery helped mould the lives of generations of young people who attended the school, many of whom attributed his attention, teaching and care to their now successful lives.
His sudden passing last Saturday has been a real shock to the teachers and colleagues he worked with and his pupils, present and past.
Damien taught Key Stage 2 and focussed on Primaries five, six and seven.
He was immersed in school activities and was the World Around Us coordinator, teaching science, history and geography.
He had a huge love of science and thoroughly enjoyed taking children on school trips to help them advance their knowledge of the environment.
Damien hosted an annual trip to Lurgan Park every Autumn which the children always looked forward to.
After school he taught the children Gaelic games.
He was an avid Armagh fan and a member of Clann Eireann GAC.
Damien loved quizzes and regularly organised several quiz events including the Credit Union Quiz which was postponed on Monday night as a mark of respect and quizzes for Cumman Na Bunscoil.
Although he was a quiet man, he was well known for his sense of humour.
Principal of St Teresa’s PS Mrs Anne Doran said it was poignant that at Monday’s assembly pupils remembered a man who told lots of funny stories and shared many jokes.
Damien was also involved in organising the children for public speaking competitions run by the local council.
However Damien was a man who loved the outdoors and organised orienteering events with a real love of science, history and the environment.
It has been poignant that social media has been awash with former students who in adulthood attribute their success to Master Lavery’s dedication and support.
Mrs Doran said: “He found treasure in each child and appealed to their strengths. He had a real knack with children with special needs.”
“On behalf of all the governors, staff, pupils and parents, Damien Lavery will be sorely missed by all of us. At this difficult time we would like to express our sympathy to his sister Cecilia, his brothers Ambrose, Sean and Colin and his girlfriend Deirdre and his wider family circle.
His funeral is tomorrow (Wednesday) from his late residence at North Circular Road, Lurgan to St Peter’s Church for 1pm Requiem Mass with interment afterwards at St Coleman’s Cemetery.