DOLLINGSTOWN lost one of its best known and most loved residents with the passing of James ‘Jimsie’ McKinley last week.
Jimsie’s funeral took place at St Saviour’s Church in Dollingstown on October 5.
61 years previously Jimsie had married Ellen Duke in Knocknamuckley Church.
Jimsie was one of a family of seven children of James and Lavinia McKinley. His brothers and sisters were William John (known as Dadsy), Tommy, Evelyn, Ellie, Vera, who passed away in childhood, and Rhoda.
He was educated at Dollingstown Primary School and after leaving school at the age of 16 he eventually ended up working in the UK Optical factory.
It was at UKO that James met Ellen. After they married they set up home at Gibson’s Hill and had four children - Alan, Paul, Cyril and Colin. Jimsie also has five grandchildren (Jason and Neill, Scott and Mark, Craig and Allyson) and two great grandchildren (Ellen and Matt).
He was predeceased by his wife Ellen in 1994. He is survived by his sister, Ellie, the last of a generation.
During his funeral eulogy Jimsie was described as a storyteller, archivist, historian, elder statesman and character rolled into one.
Through Jimsie’s stories and poems he leaves a thorough record of his life for posterity and for the delight of the next generations.
Jimsie’s stories and poems, while often reflecting his light-hearted nature, could also expertly convey the dark foreboding of the time of conflict during which he grew up.
Among other groups, Jimsie was a member of the Orange Order and Royal Black Institution. He was also a member of the Home Guard and the Ulster Special Constabulary
Jimsie was a keen darts player, a bowler and a passionate cricket fan. He loved to be out and about- for many years on a bicycle and then more recently on a scooter.
He was a lifelong Glenavon fan and recalled the great decade of the 1950s when the Lurgan Blues were the top team in the Irish League.
He was a regular worshipper in Dollingstown and will be missed by parishioners at St Saviour’s.
For the last number of months the former Gilpin Park resident had been staying at Glenview Nursing Home at Bleary.
Following the funeral service at St Saviour’s Jimsie’s remains were buried at Magheralin Parish Churchyard.