An advocate of family life, church and Orangeism

Beryl Partridge
Beryl Partridge

Devotion to her family, to Seagoe Parish Church and to the Women’s Branch of the Orange Order were the main aspects in the happy, fulfilling life of Beryl Partridge who died last week in hospital after an illness.

Mrs Partridge, who was born on the Fourth of July, 1938, was originally Beryl Gracey, one of the family of four of Sam and Lily Gracey, and was brought up in James Street. She was predeceased by brother Harold and sister Jean, with Garfield – 16 years younger than Beryl – the last of the siblings. Her home was at Seagoe Park.

Beryl is also survived by her husband Benny, daughter Shirley Branyan (husband Adrian) and son Jeffrey (wife Paula), grandchildren Aaron, Joanne, Kyle, Emily and Jonathon. There are two great-grandchildren, Samatha and Katie.

She was educated at Edenderry Public Elementary (now Primary) School, just up the hill from James Street, and her first job was as a weaver at Spence Bryson’s in Meadow Lane. She met her husband Benny at a social in Edenderry Orange Hall when she was 15 years old, and they married at the family church, Seagoe, five years later. She was a keen member of the church’s Church Girls’ Brigade, and past members of the CGB formed a guard of honour as the couple left the church. Shirley was born a year later, followed by Jeffrey three years after that. And Beryl, in the tradition of the time, was a stay-at-home mum.

She was steeped in Orangeism from a young age, joining the Junior Women’s (JWLOL) Orange Lodge 31 and rising to the rank of Worshipful Mistress. She then moved to Edenderry WLOL 101, again becoming Worshipful Mistress. Her connections with the Order spanned 70 years.

Her main service to Seagoe Parish Church was through the Mothers’ Union, and last year she received her 50 years certificate from the MU. She particularly enjoyed the Christian fellowship she experienced with the members from the parish and throughout the Diocese – in particular outings to London.

When Jeffrey started school, Beryl returned to work in the school meals sector, firstly in the central kitchen and then in Killicomaine Junior High School where she worked for 30 years.

Beryl and Benny enjoyed dancing, particularly afternoon and evening events, and they taught sequence dancing in Lurgan.

She was totally family orientated from her youth, a second mother to her brother Garfield. For their summer holidays, the extended family virtually took over a guest house in Portrush. And at Christmas – with many of the family living at Seagoe Park - it was the old maxim that “you could hardly move in their houses at various times of the day, such was the craic!”

This extended family ethos continued as the next generations arrived, and Beryl liked nothing better than playing with grandchildren and great-children as the years passed.

When her health began to deteriorate, Benny took over the role of carer – he looked after her totally until extra care and hospitalisation were inevitable and she passed away last week.

The funeral service at Seagoe Parish Church was conducted by the Rector, Canon Terence Cadden, with the curate Canon Rajkuman Sathyaj conducting the prayers. Burial was in Seagoe Churchyard, just over the wall from Seagoe Park where the Partridges spent so many happy years.

Donations, in lieu of flowers are to JWLOL 42, c/o Poots Undertakers, 42 Bridge Street, Portadown BT63 5AB.