Mrs Eileen Magowan

IN her long and remarkably active life, Mrs Eileen Magowan, of Brookvale, The Craig Road, Downpatrick, who has died in her 102nd year, always put others before herself.

As a sister, wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, friend and colleague, she was totally dependable and a seemingly never-ending source of comfort and support.

The second youngest of six daughters of Rachael and Johnny Bassett, she was born on May 13, 1917, during the First World War and lived at Brookvale all her life. She would say that as she had a Downpatrick address, a Crossgar milkman and a Killyleagh coalman, she owed allegiance to all three towns.

After attending Scaddy and Inch Schools, she worked for her brother-in-law, Joe Rea, a well known and energetic draper, at his shop on the Circular Road in Downpatrick.

However, she returned to the family farm to look after her ageing parents and help run the farm. She had a great interest in poultry and used capacity at the farm to rear hens and broilers.

She married Sam Magowan, from Ballynahinch, in 1943 and continued to live on the farm. Mr Magowan, who was in the motor trade in Belfast, died in 1986. The couple had two sons — John, who was born on Mrs Magowan’s birthday, and Alan.

She was a lifelong member of Inch Parish Church where she sang in the choir for many years and was an active participant in parish events. She was a past president and member of Crossgar Mothers’ Union and was also an honorary member of Crossgar Women’s Institute.

She spent many years involved in the ‘meals on wheels’ service, delivering meals to the elderly, many of whom were younger than herself.

She played indoor and outdoor bowls and was a great quizzer — she was particularly fond of crosswords and scrabble, which, she said, kept her brain active. She was also very keen on treasure hunts.

Mrs Magowan continued to live on the home farm, subsequently moving to a bungalow, some time after Sam’s death, where she took great delight getting involved with her grandchildren and great grandchildren on a daily basis.

She kept many scrapbooks which were crammed with photos, newspaper cuttings and other items of family interest. She also took great care to write the names and dates on the back of all her photographs.

Her greatest memories would include a long safari in Kenya with her husband many years ago and driving home from Gibraltar with her sister, Lily, after her tour of duty in the Queen Alexandra Royal Army Nursing Corps as matron of the military hospital.

She made lifelong friends with many of her neighbours and she spent many years holidaying with them in Newcastle and further afield.

Mrs Magowan moved to Glasswater Lodge at the age of 97. After four years she moved to Ringdufferin Nursing Home where she spent her last few weeks. She was very comfortable in both homes and her family are grateful for the excellent care she received.

The respect with which was Mrs Magowan was held was evident by the large attendance at her funeral which was held in Inch Parish Church on November 16. The Rev Stephen Smyth, rector, officiated.

She is survived by John and Alan, daughters-in-law Joanne, Brenda and Myrea, grandchildren, Neil, Emma, Drew and Paul, great grandchildren Sam and Poppy, and the extended family circle.