Former rector’s wife was a popular figure

Mrs Doreen McGonigle.
Mrs Doreen McGonigle.

Seagoe Parish Church was packed on Sunday afternoon for the service of thanksgiving for the life of Mrs Doreen McGonigle.

Mrs McGonigle was the widow of Canon Tom McGonigle, rector of St Mark’s parish in Portadown for many years, and the congregation heard a glowing tribute to her from the Rev Canon George Little.

Canon Little spoke of Mrs McGonigle’s work for all the parishes in which Canon McGonigle served - they included St Mark’s in Portadown, St Swithin’s in Magherafelt and St Patrick’s Clogherney in Beragh, County Tyrone.

He referred in particular to her loyalty and dedication to the Mothers’ Union. Many members of the organisation, including Lady Christine Eames, former World President, were in the congregation.

Mrs McGonigle was a popular and well-loved figure here in Portadown but there has been sadness in many parts of Northern Ireland at her passing.

She devoted herself to the work of all the parishes in which her husband served and as well as the Mothers’ Union she also gave outstanding service to the Girls’ Friendly Society and the Townsend Guild.

After he retired as rector of St Mark’s, where he served with much courage during the height of the Troubles in Portadown, Canon and Mrs McGonigle moved to Kernan Gardens in Portadown, worshipping at Seagoe Parish Church where their wide experience in church work was much valued by the rector, the Rev Canon Terence Cadden, who conducted Sunday’s service.

Both Canon Little and Canon Cadden spoke of Mrs McGonigle’s love for her family and of the tragedy at losing her youngest son, John, in a road accident in Scotland in 1986.

The family were very much a part of Sunday’s service, daughter, Ruth Logan, and son, Alan(Barney), reading the lessons with Mrs McGonigle’s grandchildren, Gareth, Sarah, Kerry and John paying their own tributes, all of them referring in particular to family holidays at Marble Hill in Donegal.

Mrs McGonigle, who was 94, spent recent years at the Pond Park nursing home in Lisburn and Canon Cadden said the family wished to place on record their thanks to the staff there for their care.

Burial was at the adjoining Seagoe churchyard, Canon Cadden conducting the service.

Donations in lieu of flowers are to Christian Aid, c/o Joseph Poots and Son, 42, Bridge Street, Portadown, BT63 5AE.