Respected pharmacist dies after long illness

Dick Cregan
Dick Cregan

Retired chemist Richard Edward Cregan – better known as Dick Cregan – has died after a long illness. He was 88 and spent the final 4 weeks of his life in the Southern Area Hospice, where he passed away.

He was the middle of three sons of Fred and Anne Cregan, a farming family at Long Lane, Moyallon. When he married his wife Grace 59 years ago, he built a house on the family land, which remained their home for the rest of their married life together.

He was predeceased by brothers Norman and Noel. As well as wife Grace, he is survived by nine nephews and nieces – Sandra, David, Dorothy, Pamela, William, Mark, Stephen, Clyde and Eleanor.

The young Dick Cregan was educated at Moyallon Public Elementary School and at Portadown ‘Tech’ where he gained the ‘London Matric’ qualification. He found his way into the pharmacy trade when he saw a notice – ‘Apprentice Wanted’ - in a local chemist’s window. The pay was a princely eight-and-sixpence (42p) a day!

He combined this first job with external study at Belfast Tech (travelling by steam train). As a qualified pharmacist, he worked in Tandragee (£5 a week), after which he bought a business in the then bustling Edgarstown area. His role was chemist-cum-doctor, a local legend where he served the community night and day.

Dick Cregan had a sound eye for business. When the former Portadown clinic was established at Thomas Street, he moved to the area, with his chemist shop yards from the clinic. The care and attention he gave to his customers continued. He went out of his way – sometimes ringing other chemists to source medicine, then delivering it in person. He remained in Thomas Street until he retired 25 years ago.

He was a committed Christian which percolated his entire life. His home church was Knocknamuckley Church of Ireland, which he served faithfully throughout his life.

He taught in both the Parochial Hall and Bleary Sunday Schools and was Superintendent of the Hacknahay Sunday School. He sang in the choir, was a Synod representative, often part of the select vestry, holding roles as warden, glebe warden and secretary.

Dick was also part of the Knocknamuckley core team who had the vision for a men’s fellowship (still running) and he took part in the celebrated walk of 1000 men, sharing his faith and his love for Christ.

His passion for mission was reflected in the many missionary organisations he supported prayerfully and financially. Together with Grace, he spent many hours visiting the sick and elderly of the parish and beyond – sharing the Scriptures, praying and nurturing friendships.

He loved his extended family, and he and Grace shared a loving marriage for almost six decades - they prayed and sang hymns together. Dick also loved playing practical jokes on friends and family.

A keen gardener, he was a founding member of the Portadown Horticultural Society and chairman for a time. He helped set up the Oasis Youth Club in Portadown and was awarded the Craigavon Mayor’s Medal for service for youth work in the community. He was a member and treasurer of the Carrickblacker Unionist association.

Dick Cregan was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis about 2 and a half years ago and relied on oxygen support.

His funeral service was to Knocknamuckley Parish Church, conducted by Capt. Gary Roberts. His nephew David Patterson (a Baptist pastor) preached the Word, niece Pamela Armstrong delivered a fitting tribute, and brother-in-law David Livingston read the Scriptures.

Burial was in the adjoining churchyard, with donations in lieu of flowers to the Southern Area Hospice and Knocknamuckley Parish Church Friendship Hours, c/o Milne Funeral Services, 59 Seagoe Road, Portadown BT63 5HS.