Respected and devoted GP who served the town for 33 years

Dr Joan Morton.
Dr Joan Morton.

Long-serving and devoted Portadown general practitioner Dr Joan Morton died recently in hospital after a short illness.

Dr Morton retired in March last year and had planned a busy and fulfilling life in the years ahead.

She became a proud grandmother for the first time 14 months ago, when baby Thomas Green was born. She and her husband Dr Martin Davidson had recently bought an apartment in Portstewart for their use and that of their extended family (Dr Morton practised under her maiden name). She had also enrolled in the Belfast Bible College to further pursue and research her Methodist faith.

Her death has caused profound grief, not just among her family and friends, but also among her colleagues at Portadown Health Centre and the patients for whom she cared with such expertise and attentiveness.

Dr Morton joined the Patton Practice in Portadown back in 1983, succeeding the legendary Dr Margaret Patton, who emigrated a number of years ago to Christchurch, New Zealand, with her husband Dr Tom Patton. They joined their extended family ‘Down Under’ and Dr Margaret passed away 18 months ago.

Dr Morton continued the caring tradition of Dr Margaret in the practice, now the Riverside Practice. She was a partner in the practice where Dr Stephen Sharp is the senior partner.

As well as her husband and grandson Thomas, she is survived by three daughters and sons-in-law – Catherine and Jonathan Henry (Lisburn), Alison and Philip Green (Lisburn) and Helen and Marty Balmer (Leeds). She also leaves two brothers, Stephen and Kenneth.

Joan Morton began her life in Tandragee, the daughter of Billy and Marjorie Morton. They moved to Portadown during her childhood and lived at Beechcote Avenue, off the Killicomaine Road.

After attending Portadown College, her third-level education was at Queen’s University where she studied medicine, after which she was senior house officer at Craigavon Area Hospital. It was there that she met her future husband Dr Martin Davidson, who hailed from Carnmoney. She completed her GP training in Bristol and Armagh, while he completed his GP training in Ballyclare.

They were married at First Portadown (Edenderry) Presbyterian Church on September 1, 1979, and lived in Carnmoney for 18 months, after which they set up home in Bleary for four years.

At this stage Dr Morton worked in the schools’ sector and her husband gained a position in the High Street Practice in Lurgan.

They moved from Bleary to their current home at Dunkirk Road, Waringstown, and Dr Morton combined her exacting profession with that of a dedicated mother. Cooking was her forte and, until recent months, her Sunday roasts were really appreciated as the extended family gathered. She loved cooking and read up avidly on the latest recipes. She was also a keen reader of books generally.

Dr Morton was a committed Christian and served High Street Methodist Church, Lurgan (and the Lurgan community generally) with real dedication.

She was a member of the High Street Methodist Women’s Association where she held various offices over the years. She was involved in its Alpha courses, and in its playgroups. She also planned to complete a course at Belfast Bible College, but illness intervened.

In the community generally, she was a trustee of Care in Crisis. And, after she retired, she and her husband joined the Craigavon Historical Society, thoroughly enjoying the meetings.

Dr Morton and her husband also looked forward to their annual holidays which usually centred in France – from the Mediterranean resort of Nice to walking holidays in Brittany. She was also relishing the prospect of family weekends in Portstewart, but that, too, was denied her.

There was a very good attendance at High Street Methodist Church for the service of thanksgiving for her life, with Rev Harold Agnew conducting the service, assisted by Rev Maurice Laverty, former minister at the church and a fellow former pupil of Dr Morton’s at Portadown College.

Hymns were ‘Be Thou My Vision’, ‘My Jesus I Love Thee’ and ‘This is the God We Adore’. Interment was at Kernan Cemetery.