OBITUARY: Former Lisburn mayor and long-time Orangeman Harry Lewis

Ex-Lisburn mayor Harry Lewis
Ex-Lisburn mayor Harry Lewis

Former Lisburn mayor Harry Lewis was a member of both the UUP and Orange Order for about seven decades.

Born on Crew Farm, Glenavy, he was delivered at exactly 12.03am on January 1, 1926 – making him a probably the first child in the Province that year.

Harry Lewis

Harry Lewis

The son of Robert and mother Mary (nee Falloon), he attended Killultagh Primary School and then later Lisburn Tech.

His father died when he was aged 15, and he had to cancel his studies and go to work.

He entered into jobs ranging from helping to build Nutt’s Corner airport to working for the Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes.

He met his wife Catherine (known as Kitty) in 1950 and they wed three years later.

Harry Lewis (right) pictured with James Molyneaux

Harry Lewis (right) pictured with James Molyneaux

The two of them set up a shop and filling station business in the 1960s at Pond Park Road in Lisburn, which they ran until retirement in 1988.

A UUP member since age 20, he had also been a friend of Jim Molyneaux since his teens.

In 1985 he became a councillor in Lisburn at the encouragement of Mr Molyneaux, the then-UUP leader. He remained in post for 20 years.

“He always said he felt he should put something back into the community,” said Kitty. “He felt that if you wanted to live a good life you had to serve the public.”

Harry became mayor of the town from 1994 to 1996.

“He wasn’t keen on making speeches, but he loved to serve the public,” his widow added.

He was involved in a car crash in 2011 which left him badly injured.

He died of ill-health in a private nursing home on September 21, one day before his 62nd wedding anniversary. He was 89.

His funeral was at St Mark’s Anglican Parish Church in Ballymacash, where he was a member, three days later, and was buried in New Cemetery, Lisburn.

A member of the Orange Order for 72 years (Crew LOL124), as well as the Masons, he had previously been in the B Specials and the Home Guard.

Mayor of Lisburn and Castlereagh, Councillor Thomas Beckett, said: “He was always very proactive in his work to promote the then town of Lisburn and took great pride in the development of the area when Lisburn was awarded city status in 2002.

“His mayoral portrait hangs at Lagan Valley Island to mark his time as Mayor, which is a fitting tribute to his contribution to the Council.”

Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt said he knew him by reputation as “a solid Ulster Unionist, a man committed to serving the people of Lisburn and someone who you could trust implicitly, as his word was his bond”.

He is survived by his widow, daughter Joan Lockhart, son Nigel Lewis, grandaughter Alison Lewis, as well as brother Teddy and one sister Isa Adams.