Tributes have been paid to a former Banbridge councillor who devoted his life to building a shared society, following news that Frank McQuaid passed away peacefully at Craigavon Area Hospital on March 14.
Bishop Dr John McAreavey paid tribute to ‘the life and contribution of a good man, a straight forward and uncomplicated man, a man of deep attachments and loyalties’ at a Requiem Mass in St Therese’s Church, Banbridge.
“Francie lived his life in the presence of Jesus Christ. He lived his relationship with Jesus in the heart of his family, in the fellowship of this parish and with respect for people across our whole community,” he said.
At the age of six, his family moved to the hill-top farm at Lisnaree and Frank attended school in Banbridge.
He later took on responsibility of the farm although it was for his role in politics that he was best known.
As a founder member of the Alliance Party, his election to Banbridge Council allowed him to represent the people and serve the needs of the whole community for more than 20 years.
He was forced to step down for health reasons in 2010 when his wife Shiela replaced him, continuing the work.
“The core of his life was his love for Sheila and their love for their children, and grandchildren,” Bishop McAreavey continued.
“The loss of Sheila at a time when he was already struggling with poor health was a hard blow.”
The parish and his faith remained a foundation-stone for Frank throughout his life.
“Despite the limits on his mobility in recent years, participation in Sunday Mass in this church was a non-negotiable part of his life,” said Bishop McAreavey.
Former Banbridge District councillor Joan Baird said: “He always had the people of Banbridge first in his mind. Although we served on different parties and had different opinions, we always came out of the room chatting and on good terms”.
Councillor Seamus Doyle said: “He was a gentleman and easy to work with. As a friend I visited him many times and he was always his own pleasant self in spite of how he must have been feeling with his health. It was a privilege to have known him.”
Alderman Paul Rankin recalled once loaning him a tie.
“Shiela had jokingly passed a comment that he had no tie on at an election count. I had a yellow tie on, so I took it off and he used it. I have good memories of him.
“He was a gentleman. He campaigned tirelessly for local issues and although we were from different parties we had a lot in common.”