Sadness at the passing of a hard-working family man

Alphonsus Robinson
Alphonsus Robinson

Maghery native and Mullaghbrack man Alphonsus (Francie) Robinson was a highly respected figure in Co Armagh.

Born in Milltown in 1933, Alphonsus was one of seven children and first and foremost a family man.

With a tenacious and unceasing work ethic, Francie would have been the first to admit he had no interest in school in his youth.

Though despite this, he achieved a great deal in his 84 years.

His working life was very varied. He worked in various jobs, including driving buses in Glasgow and different building firms, predominately Farran’s in Belfast, where he helped so many young men to get a start with the company.

He had to travel to different parts of the UK, for weeks at a time but he didn’t complain, and his family often went to visit him on site.

In 1964 he married the love of his life, Kathleen Mulligan from Mullaghbrack, Markethill and they went on to have seven children. (Carmel, Michael, Brian, Rose, Marie, Sean and Kevin).

He moved to Mullaghbrack with his young family when his father-in-law Barney Mulligan died and looked after his mother-in-law, Annie, as well.

He built a family home for his wife and children and mother-in-law on the adjoining land.

Often after a hard day working, he would have gone out to the fields tending to potatoes and other vegetables grown to help feed his family.

He loved his gardening, under Kathleen’s guidance, and their wee trip’s to Donegal at the weekend.

He was also well known for his strawberries, which came from his Maghery upbringing. Potatoes were another of his specialities.

After his early retirement, being diagnosed with arthritis and eventually Alzheimer’s, he enjoyed life at home with his family, especially his grandchildren.

Throughout his life he had a great love of music and was a regular at the ballroom dances of the 50s, 60s and 70s. He took pride in his appearance and was well known for his trademark quiff.

Francie Robinson was a GAA man to the back bone. While he was a Maghery Sean MacDermotts to the hilt he soon became a member of O’Donnabhain Rosa G.F.C. Mullaghbrack, even managing the team at one time and was a member of the committee.

He regularly attended matches and was an avid follower of the County Armagh team.

As a young man in Mullaghbrack he could have organised 25 Card Drives to raise money for the local club.

Indeed not just for the GAA. With his wife Kathleen, they were often involved in charitable events.

Primarily Francie was a family man.

He was a loving father and grandfather and great grandfather, often going beyond the call of duty for his family and friends of which he had many.

He was predeceased by his wife Kathleen, who passed away in May 2014.

Francie died at the Chestnut Lodge Private Nursing Home on July 11, 2017.

He will be sadly missed by his loving children Carmel, Michael, Brian, Rose, Marie, Sean and Kevin, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, grandchildren, great grandchild Noah, brothers Dermot and Leo, sister Sheila, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nephews, nieces and the entire family circle.