The daughter of a woman murdered in the Enniskillen bomb has paid tribute to her brother who has died suddenly – just days after an old friend had attempted to contact him through the News Letter.
Aileen Quinton said that her brother Ian, 60, who is believed to have died suddenly in the street last Friday of a massive heart attack, had been “a very sweet and gentle soul” and a brilliant artist.
Ms Quinton said that her brother had been very close to their widowed mother and that her murder – at the age of 72, when Ian was in his 30s – had “devastated” them both.
In a tragic coincidence, a member of the public had contacted the News Letter two weeks ago in an attempt to contact Ian, with whom they had studied at art college almost 30 years ago.
Remembering that his mother, Alberta, had been murdered in the Poppy Day massacre, she contacted the newsdesk after reading an article about the attack on our website.
When her details were passed to Ms Quinton, she said that she had been planning to contact us to submit an article about IRA victims’ fight for compensation from Libya, something which ended up on the front page of Saturday’s paper and which prompted Lord Empey to raise the issue anew with the Government.
Yesterday Ms Quinton said that she had told her brother to look out for the article but tragically he was dead before it was published.
“It was so strange that after a friend of his getting in touch and then for me to have to ring her – and she so pleased at having tracked him down, to tell her ... but at least he knew that somebody had been looking for him.”
Ms Quinton said her brother was “really pleased” that someone was trying to find him after so many decades.
She recalled his “wacky alternative sense of humour” which saw him draw some “crazy cartoons”, including a shoplifter pictured physically lifting the shop and a plastic surgeon who was melting by the fireside.
She said that he had painted landscapes as well: “Art was really his thing. He was schizophrenic – he was quite open about that – and he wasn’t really able to work but he dealt with his illness so well.
“He dealt so well with all of the things that life threw at him – and life threw at him some horrid wallops.
“He was one of the kindest people you could ever know; really, really concerned about people’s feelings and would worry that he’d upset somebody.”
Last November the Quinton family home in Enniskillen was burnt down. Among the items lost were Mrs Quinton’s war diary (she was in the RAF) and her medals, as well as several paintings by Ian.
Ms Quinton added that her brother, who lived in Belfast, had drawn a pen and ink representation of Garvary Parish Church, from where he was buried yesterday.