Obituary: Co Armagh GP was devoted mum and wonderful cook
One of Co Armagh's most highly respected general practitioners, Dr Joan Morton, died recently after 33 years' service in Portadown Health Centre.
Dr Morton (who practised under her maiden name) retired in March last year. She had planned a fulfilling retirement with her husband, Dr Martin Davidson, a retired GP in neighbouring Lurgan. Their home is in Waringstown.
They had bought an apartment in Portstewart to enjoy with their extended family, with their first grandchild having been born.
As well as her husband and grandson Thomas Green (14 months), she is survived by three daughters and sons-in-law – Catherine and Jonathan Henry (Lisburn), Alison and Philip Green (Lisburn) and Helen and Marty Balmer (Leeds). She also leaves two brothers, Stephen and Kenneth.
She joined Portadown’s Patton Practice in 1983 when Dr Margaret Patton retired. It is now the Riverside Practice where Dr Stephen Sharp is the senior partner.
Dr Margaret and her GP husband Dr Tom Patton later emigrated to their extended family in Christchurch, New Zealand, where they were caught up in the February 2011 earthquake. Dr Margaret Patton died 18 months ago.
Dr Morton was brought up in Tandragee and Portadown. She was educated at Portadown College and graduated from Queen’s University. She was a Senior House Officer (SHO) at Craigavon Area Hospital and completed her GP training in Bristol and Armagh.
She met her future husband, a Carnmoney man, at Craigavon, where he was also SHO, and he did his GP training in Ballyclare. They lived in Carnmoney for a short time after they married at First Portadown Presbyterian Church in September 1979. Then they moved to Bleary in Co Armagh and finally to Waringstown.
A woman of great compassion and energy, Dr Morton managed to combine her exacting life as a GP with that of a devoted mother. She was a wonderful cook, and the family enjoyed gathering at their home for her legendary dishes, especially her Sunday roasts. She read up avidly on the latest recipes, and generally enjoyed reading.
Dr Morton was a devout Christian and served High Street Methodist Church, Lurgan, (and the Lurgan community generally) with dedication.
She was a member of the High Street Methodist Women’s Association where she held various offices over the years and was involved in its Alpha courses, and in its play groups.
She had planned to undergo a course at Belfast Bible College to further pursue and research her Methodist faith, but illness intervened.
In the Lurgan community generally, she was a trustee of Care in Crisis. And, after she retired, she and her husband joined the Craigavon Historical Society, thoroughly enjoying the meetings.
Dr Morton and her husband also looked forward to their annual holidays which usually centred in France – from the Mediterranean resort of Nice to walking holidays in Brittany.
There was an excellent attendance at High Street Methodist Church for the service of thanksgiving for her life, with Rev Harold Agnew conducting the service, assisted by Rev Maurice Laverty, former minister at the church and a fellow former pupil of Dr Morton’s at Portadown College. Interment was at Kernan Cemetery, Portadown.