Desy was a true town character

Desy Brown - photographed a few weeks before his death - looking back over his boxing days.INPT29-098
Desy Brown - photographed a few weeks before his death - looking back over his boxing days.INPT29-098

Portadown has lost one of its true characters with the death of Desy Brown, best known for his football skills and his boxing prowess with the Territorial Army in his younger days.

Desy was 88 and died at home after an illness. He is survived by daughter Lynne (Wales), son Desy junior (Portadown) and daughter-in-law Jacqui. The family wishes to place on record the loving care and attention he received at home (26 Hartfield Square) from Gina and grandchildren Jamie, Samantha and Tamzin.

Desy was brought up in West Street, and was particularly close to his mother Emily Brown. They were regular attenders at Armagh Road Presbyterian Church in those days, and – as a muscular labourer – he was a real pillar in the construction, by voluntary labour, of the church hall. That was in the days when Rev William Magee was minister of the church.

Desy’s working years were spent on the railways, at Denny’s Bacon Factory and at the Metal Box in Brownstown Road, all within walking distance of his home. He finally retired from Metal Box.

He loved all types of sport and was a talented goalkeeper in the Works League with Denny’s and Metal Box. He was also keeper for junior side Albion and was on the books of Newry Town at one stage.

Boxing was his favourite sport, allied to his service with the TA (Royal Irish Fusiliers). He nailed the TA light-heavyweight title and was especially proud of the fact that, in the process, he gained the coveted Eagle Badge, which he wore with justifiable pride.

Desy won the title with style, and with a powerful punch in the three bouts. He despatched his first opponent with a second round knock-out, the referee stopped the fight in the second encounter, and his third round opponent hit the canvas in the first round. He was well trained – by Portadown boxing legend Frank McCoy who died in recent years.

Desy was respected among his colleagues and officers as a professional and dedicated TA soldier, taking part in all the activities and thoroughly enjoying the life.

In his private life, he was a member of the Orange Order and the Black Institution, and especially enjoyed celebrating the Twelfth with his old friends.

Despite being known as something of fearsome boxing opponent, he was an affable and friendly man outside the ring. He didn’t have an enemy to his name and loved nothing more than having a chat with the many friends he made over the years.

The private family funeral service was at his home, and interment was at Vinecash Presbyterian Church, in the family plot where his mother was laid to rest in 1981.

Rev Ken Robinson, minister at Epworth Methodist Church, conducted the services at home and at the graveside.