There was widespread sadness as news emerged of the recent death, peacefully at home, of Edward James (Teddy) Carey.
The second son of Thomas and Isabella Carey, Ted was born in Skeogh townland, where he lived until his marriage to Rhoda in 1948 and a move to her parents’ farm at Ballooleymore.
From age six to 14 Ted attended Tullyglush Public Elementary School, where he looked forward to the traditional week off for potato-gathering.
After leaving school at 14, Ted served his time as a joiner with David McCrum and sons in Dromore ahead of a short-lived move to Belfast’s Harland and Wolff shipyard. In time Ted established his own building firm.
After the emigration to South Africa in 1948 of his only brother Theodore and his family, Ted looked forward to their frequent visits home and in recent years he enjoyed the company of his niece Glennis, who made several visits to see him.
Ted and Rhoda had three children - Edmund, Berneice and John. Ted in turn became a proud grandfather to Simon, Colin and Jonathan and lived to see and enjoy his great-grandchildren.
It was Rhoda who introduced Ted to his beloved farming and after her sudden death in October 1989 he was able to continue farming thanks to the daily help and support of his son Edmund and daughter-in-law Lily, who lived close by.
Son, John, meanwhile, helped foster his father’s love of horses by often bringing mares and foals home to graze on the land, and daughter-in-law Florence paid regular visits.
Having farmed until the age of 82, Ted was finally forced to retire following a hip operation and turned instead to gardening, alongside his dog, and best friend, Toby.
Until his final days Ted remained a frequent visitor to Len McCoy’s Grocery shop, where he met and chatted with neighbours. He likewise enjoyed welcoming many visiting family and friends to his home, among them his only daughter Berneice, every weekend, his niece Carol and relatives from Seattle.
One of Ted’s main interests outside of family and farming was Skeogh Flute Band, which he served for 87 of his 94 years and whose memebrs played an integral role in his funeral.
His other great passion was breeding and showing Jersey cattle. From the early 50s to the 90s the Ballooley herd featured among the top prizewinners at shows.
Even at age 93 Ted enjoyed good health and independent living but a series of falls then resulted in frequent hospital stays. His family and friend Lila provided the care necessary at home, in which they appreciated the professional help of the Connected Care team - Michelle, Stacy, Paula and Pauline - and, in Ted’s final months, Sharon of Macmillan nurses, Mary the District Nurse and hospital staff.
Ted was known as one of life’s gentlemen, a hard-working, respected and valued member of the farming community, always willing to help his neighbours. He was quiet but witty, unassuming, loyal and thoughtful.
There was a large attendance at Ted’s funeral, the Rev Keith Duddy officiating at First Dromore Presbyterian Church, where Ted was to be buried in the adjoining cemetery. The church was one of great personal significance to Ted, whose parents were the first couple to be married in the new building in 1915.
Family flowers were placed on the grave and donations in lieu of flowers, if desired, can be sent to Brian Poots and Sons, Funeral Services, 106 Skeagh Road, Dromore, Co Down BT25 2PZ, for Skeogh Flute Band Fund and Macmillan Cancer Support.