Father-of-nine Covid victim was ‘very family orientated’

Father-of-nine Covid victim was ‘very family orientated’

24 November 2021

TRIBUTES have been paid to a Downpatrick man who died last week after losing a nine-week battle with Covid-19.

Father-of-nine Ivor Wilcox, who was 48, passed away in the Ulster Hospital last Tuesday.

It has been confirmed that Mr Wilcox, who also had eight grandchildren, had not been vaccinated.

His family said he had intended to get the Covid vaccine, but “just didn’t get round to it”.

He tested positive for the virus nine weeks ago and spent the first three weeks at home before being admitted to hospital.

Speaking to The Irish News, Mr Wilcox’s daughter-in-law, Micaela Johnston, said his death had left a massive hole in the family.

“He welcomed everyone with open arms. He was like everyone’s dad, everyone’s uncle. He was everyone’s shoulder,” she said.

“He thrived on being a dad, thrived on being a granddad. He adored his kids. He adored his grandkids.

“We are all trying to talk about him and gather our thoughts, the fact that we will never see him again. We feel numb. He was just the life and soul of everybody’s lives.”

Also speaking to The Irish News, his son, Steven Curran, said his father was “very family-orientated” and described him as his “superhero”.

“He always had this thing where he said he was the original Batman. He will always be our Batman,” he remarked.

A popular and well known figure in the area, Mr Wilcox was the assistant bar manager at St Patrick’s Golf Club in Downpatrick.

Mr Joe Torney, the club’s honorary secretary, said members and staff learned of his passing “with great sadness”.

“Ivor was a larger-than-life character who had joined the club in 2019 and he immediately established himself and demonstrated his many years of local experience from working in the hospitality industry,” he said.

“His witty banter and warm and welcoming smile behind the bar quickly made him a popular member of staff with all the members of the club.

“Ivor had an outgoing personality and he enjoyed engaging with members and guests on their exploits on the many challenges presented by the fairways and tricky greens around St Patrick’s golf course.”

Mr Torney continued: “It was absolutely clear to all of us who came to know Ivor that above all else he was a devoted husband, father and grandfather who lived for his family — a father to nine children and eight grandchildren.

“He was so proud of his family and it was evident that he in turn was at the centre of all their lives, and the very heart, life and soul of their family unit.”

Mr Torney added: “Ivor will be sorely missed and remembered fondly by the staff and members of St Patrick’s GC. The club offers our deepest sympathy and condolences to his wife, Elise, and the extended family circle as they come to terms with their very sad loss.”

Mr Wilcox was buried in Struell Cemetery on Friday following requiem mass in St Patrick’s Church.