George McCullough, who has died at the Southern Area Hospice after a short illness, had a wide range of interests, and was one of the first people involved in establishing the now annual Country Comes to Town festival.
A flamboyant and outgoing character, George enjoyed country and western pursuits, vintage vehicles and raised money for several charities.
He put his heart and soul into everything he did, and will be sadly missed by his family and the groups and organisations he was involved with.
George is survived by his son Michael, twin sister Evelyn, sisters Gwen and Muriel (who are also twins) and the wide family circle. He was pre-deceased by his wife Anne who passed away in August 2014 – their home was at Brownstown Road.
George was born in the Carleton Maternity Home in August 1944. His parents were Thomas and Muriel McCullough of Mullahead Road, Tandragee. They were members of Tandragee Presbyterian Church where George was in the Boys’ Auxiliary.
He was educated at Moyallon Primary School and Killicomaine (then Intermediate) School, after which he was employed in McDonagh’s Furniture Factory, Obins Street, as a joiner.
From there, he moved to Sinton’s of Tandragee and also worked for a short time with Frank Johnston in Portadown.
The bulk of his career, though, was as a salesman with Firth Finance in Belfast, where he worked for almost 40 years.
Outside work, his interests were many and varied, not least his loving relationship with Anne and Michael – Anne was his best friend as well as his wife.
He was a member of Seagoe Masonic Lodge, of which he was treasurer and secretary for many years.
Other interests included photography – he was a member of Banbridge Photographic Club – and he was deeply interested in the vintage world, being treasurer of County Armagh Vintage Club, helping to organise the annual show.
His collection of brasses was legendary, and he appeared on Teilifis Eireann displaying the hundreds of items he had amassed over the year. He showed them all over Ireland.
George and his late wife Anne (nee Johnston) met at the Savoy Ballroom in West Street and were married in St Mark’s Church of Ireland in August 1967 – son Michael was born in October 1974.
The couple shared a common interest in country and western music, their favourite memory being a trip to ‘Grand Ole Opry’ in Nashville, Tennessee, where Johnny Cash was the main attraction.
The star tossed his harmonica into the crowd, George caught it, and had it framed and given a place of honour on the wall of their living room. They also met other C&W stars like Charlie Pride and Charlie Landsborough.
George also followed the motorcycle road racing scene. His favourite venue was the TT races on the Isle of Man which he attended with Michael. They were fans of the late Joey Dunlop and have many mementoes of various riders.
He was also a fan of motor sports, often travelling to Silverstone to watch the races. And he owned several vintage cars, having recently bought a sports car.
George was also deeply involved in charity work, raising thousands of pounds for Kidney Research, Craigavon Cardiac Care Association, Cancer Research and various other good causes.
With all these interest, he had a wide circle friends, and his funeral service at St Mark’s was well attended.
His brother-in-law Tom Johnston said, “George had a wonderful and eventful life – a devoted husband, father and brother who was extremely active and never known to be ill until the terminal illness which he bore with great courage.
“He will be sadly missed.”
The service of thanksgiving was conducted by Rev Canon Michael Kennedy who was in charge during the vacancy at St Mark’s and interment was in Kernan Cemetery.