Tribute paid following death of highly regarded Omagh man

Darren Beattie


Darren Beattie


The funeral has taken place of well known and highly thought of Omagh man and former Tyrone Constitution employee, Leslie McGrew.

Mr McGrew passed away peacefully at Harold McCauley Care Home on Sunday and his funeral took place at Trinity Presbyterian Church yesterday (Tuesday), followed by interment at Old Drumragh graveyard.

Mr McGrew was born on March 4, 1940. He was one of a family of eight children brought up by the late Joe and Isabel McGrew of Newbrighton Terrace, Omagh. He had worked in the bookbinding section of the Tyrone Constitution before moving to England in September 1970. He was a long-serving member of the Civil Service, retiring as an executive officer at the age of 53 and returned to Omagh in 1999 to live with his brother Joey at Fairmount Avenue.

Paying tribute to Mr McGrew, who was also a keen poetry-writer, the Rev Robert Herron said: "Throughout his life, Leslie had a great interest in sport. I am told, in his youth, he was a great footballer and that he played for various teams, including Omagh Town.

"He also had an interest in music. He taught himself the guitar, took up the clarinet in his 60s and played in St Eugene’s Band. There were many occasions when I dropped into a nursing home and Leslie and Joey were providing entertainment for the residents. That was when they were not out walking the roads or off to Blackpool or Ayrshire or Portrush for a holiday.

"Leslie was always very observant. He noticed detail. Perhaps it was his nature or maybe his civil servant background – little went unnoticed. In his poems, he captured what he saw and expressed what he noticed and how he felt about each of us.

"Leslie had a positive attitude towards life and towards the people with whom he shared his life. Every time you met him, he had a story to tell, wise comment to make or a joke to share.

"In Leslie’s passing things are just ‘Not the Same’ - the title of his poetry book."

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