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Community stunned after sudden death of much-loved minister

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Community stunned after sudden death of much-loved minister thumbnailRev Roy Campbell, minister of Clogher and Glenhoy Presbyterian Churches who died suddenly on Monday evoking widespread shock and sorrow.

THE Presbyterian congregations of Clogher and Glenhoy are trying to come to terms with the sudden and unexpected death of their much-loved minister, the Rev Roy Campbell. His untimely passing has also evoked widespread shock and sorrow over a much wider area of Tyrone and beyond.

It is understood the 47-year-old father of two was discovered on Monday morning at the bottom of the stairs in his home at Tullybroom Road, Clogher. A post-mortem was held yesterday (Tuesday) to establish the cause of death, but police said it was not being treated as suspicious.

The funeral service of the highly-respected cleric will take place tomorrow, Thursday, at 2pm in Corrick Presbyterian Church followed by interment in Droit graveyard.

Tributes were paid at the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI), which is meeting in Assembly Buildings, Belfast, this week.

A spokesperson for the family yesterday thanked everyone who had made contact with them over the past few days.

"The family circle are thankful for the life of Roy and would like to convey their thanks to everyone who has supported them with prayer and deed in the last few days."

Born in Strabane in 1970, son of Bertie and Jean and brother of Hazel, Gillian and Hilary, the family home is at Derbrough, Plumbridge. He received his early education at Corrick Primary School, Omagh High School and Loughry College before attending the University of Ulster. He gained his Masters in Divinity from Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia in the United States of America.

 

Mr. Campbell was licensed in his home congregation of Badoney and Corrick Presbyterian in 2004. He undertook his assistantship in Terrace Row Presbyterian Church and was ordained and installed in Clogher and Glenhoy Presbyterian Churches in 2006, which was his first charge as a minister.

Speaking on the news of the death, the clerk of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland's Omagh Presbytery, Rev. Robert Herron OBE said: "The news of this unexpected death had left many who knew him with a deep sense of shock.

  "On behalf of the Presbytery of Omagh I would like to convey to Roy's wife Tonya, his son Gershom, daughter Joanna and the wider family circle our deepest sympathy and heartfelt condolences on this tragic news - and to the members of Clogher and Glenhoy, the congregation he has served since 2006.

"His congregations thought highly of him and were very supportive of him over the years. He was very happy here. He was a very caring person and would have been good at getting alongside people. He was empathetic. His whole commitment was to his family and congregations."

 

The son of a farmer, he grew up in the Newtownstewart-Plumbridge area, he added.

He met his American wife, Tonya, when studying for his Master's in Divinity at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia.

"We give thanks to God for his faithful service in ministry and pray for Tonya, the children and Roy's wider family circle, that they would know God's grace, compassion, comfort and strength at this sad time.

 

"Roy was a good colleague and a friend to many local ministers, particularly young ministers. He was a hard-working minister who was well-liked. His death is a tragedy," he said.

Rev Robert Orr, Moderator of the Omagh Presbytery, said Mr Campbell was from a country area and he found himself ministering in country areas.

"He was Moderator of the Omagh Presbytery from 2011- 2012 and was well known not only in his own congregations but also in his neighbouring congregations at times of vacancy. Our heart's go out to his wife, children, wider family circle and friends. As he ministered to others in their time of need, may God help us to minister to this family at this sad time," he said.

Elder at Glenhoy Presbyterian Church and Mid-Ulster councillor, Robert Mulligan, said he was deeply shocked when he heard the news of the the sudden death.

"He was a man I held in the highest regard, he was an invaluable support to me in my work as a church Elder. I acquired great respect for him over the years for his overall attentiveness to the work of the ministry. It's a very difficult job and getting ever more so these days.

 

"He took a great interest in the community generally and was involved in the schools locally. He was very true to his calling and I would extend my very sincere sympathy to his wife and children, his parents and wider family circle."

He added Mr Campbell would be a big loss to the church in Glenhoy and Carntall and to the Presbytery generally.

Elder at Clogher Church (Carntall), David Boyd, said Mr Campbell's passing was a big shock and a big loss to the congregation.

"It's been a very sad time for the Campbell family. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to all affected and the congregation will rally around and support them at this difficult time."

The Church of Ireland Bishop of Clogher, the Right Rev John McDowell, has paid tribute to the Rev Roy Campbell following his unexpected death.

Bishop McDowell, who is one of the Church of Ireland's representatives attending the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Belfast this week, said: "I would like to extend my own sympathy and the sympathy of the wider Church of Ireland family in the Diocese of Clogher to the Rev Roy Campbell's family circle following his sudden and unexpected passing. His work for his church and community in the Clogher Valley was greatly appreciated.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Tonya and the children, Gershom and Joanna at this difficult time," he said.

 Clogher Valley councillor, Wills Robinson, said the whole area was deeply shocked and saddened by the death of the Rev Roy Campbell.

"He was a gentleman who not only pastored his churches, but also put his energy into the community in which he lived."

He added: "His wife and children have been hit with an incredible loss. I know from speaking with Roy how devoted he was to his family."

The cleric was also chairman of Fivemiletown College board of governors, he added.

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