Pigeon fancier, keen golfer and devoted family man

The late Pat Breen. INPT25-015
The late Pat Breen. INPT25-015

Well-known Ballyoran man Patrick (Pat) Breen has passed away after a short illness, aged 85.

A keen sportsman, Patrick was the son of the late Mary and Hugh Breen of Roseview Terrace in the Obins Street area.

Educated at the old Corcrain School and St Patrick’s in Armagh, Patrick went on to work in Quinn’s General Store at Woodhouse Street – where activities ranged from general hardware to an undertaking business.

His main working career was as a butcher in Denny’s factory in Obins Street, where he is still remembered as a skilled worker and a caring union official.

He was shop steward, respected by his fellow employees and by management.

Pat was a skilled negotiator, able to see both sides of the equation. He also welcomed young employees to their first job and was always anxious to see them settle in.

He and his late wife Sheila married in the early 1950s at St Patrick’s RC Church in William Street, where he had been an altar boy in his younger days. They settled in the Redmanville Estate before moving to Ballyoran Park.

His Christian faith and his family meant so much to him, and he was also a keen sportsman.

He kept homing pigeons as a member of Portadown Invitation Club (Meadow Lane), and was proud that the membership came from all communities.

His pigeons won many prizes – racing and shows – especially his pride and joy ‘Red Rum’, named after the legendary Grand National racehorse. ‘Red Rum’ won many races from Irish venues like Arklow and Skibbereen, as well as from Wales and Cornwall. The greatest triumph was winning the top races from France, and Pat was offered “telephone numbers” to sell the bird. He always refused - and ironically, the pigeon was lost in a race from France soon afterwards. He was also a respected judge at various pigeon shows throughout Ireland.

Pat was a keen and useful golfer and played the fairways of Tandragee for many years, winning a number of club prizes and starring for the seniors’ team. His fondest memory was a hole-in-one at the tricky 16th (Quarry Hole) one summer night as dusk was falling. He would recall that he hadn’t a clue where the ball had gone in the encircling twilight, giving it up for lost, until a fellow member of his fourball found it nestling in the hole!

Pat and his wife also enjoyed their local Tir na nOg club and were keen dancers there for a number of years.

His family is proud to recall that Pat Breen was a temperate man in every way – non-sectarian, never swore, and was true to his faith and to his God.

The well-attended Requiem Mass, at St John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church, was conducted by Canon Toner and burial was in the family plot in the adjoining churchyard.

Pat is survived by five daughters and three sons – Anne, Damien, Maura, Carmel, Kieran, Martin, Loretta and Paula - as well as his siblings Jim, Theresa, Ann and Oliver, and was predeceased by brother Michael. He leaves behind 16 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. His wife Sheila (nee Doyle) passed away when she was 70.