Lurgan businessman Victor Stewart was shown to be a loyal Orangeman in every sense of the word at his funeral on Monday.
Mr Stewart met his wife of 45 years on the Twelfth of July and went on to create a “one-stop shop to meet the needs of the Loyal Orders and marching bands”.
Five years before his death he had given his life to God and the lay preacher who conducted his funeral service said he was a tremendous asset to the church.
Geoffrey Robinson, part-time lay preacher at Queen Street Methodist, said the church was filled to its 350 capacity yesterday, with half that again standing outside on the street listening to the service via a public address system.
Mr Robinson, who has been with the church for 10 months, said: “From the day I came here Victor took me under his wing. He was much loved in Queen Street and even through his illness he’d been at his church any time he could. He was a tremendous man.”
Mr Stewart was born on October 21, 1948 to Norman and Lavinia.
He grew up with his sister Norma in Hamilton Street in Lurgan which was known locally as ‘The Block’.
When he left school he worked at the Met Office in London before coming back to Lurgan to work for Goodyear.
Mr Robinson told mourners: “Victor always loved the bands and in 1966 along with a few mates he started Craigavon Protestant Boys Flute Band. In the same year he met Susie on July Twelfth at Ballyknock Orange Hall.”
They married at Broomhedge Parish Church six years later and went on to have two children – Vicki who he called ‘The Big Girl’ – and Greig who was ‘The Cub’.
Mr Robinson said: “Victor always had a nickname for everyone. If he didn’t know someone’s name they were ‘brother’ to him.”
He added: “In 1984 Goodyear closed and at this moment Victor’s vision for his business was born.”
His desire – which became a reality – was, as Mr Robinson described it “to have a one-stop shop to meet the needs of the Loyal Orders and marching bands”.
“Victor dedicated most of his life – from his teens – to the Orange, the Black, the Apprentice Boys and Craigavon Flute Band.
“One of his proudest moments was when he became a Christian on December 12, 2011 and with this began a new chapter in his life.”
Mr Stewart was buried in Lurgan Cemetery where a short service was conducted by both Mr Robinson and the Orange Order.