Hal was a ’Blacker club legend

Hal McCready
Hal McCready

Hal McCready was legendary in the annals of Portadown Golf Club as a talented administrator – he held just about every position in the club from honorary secretary to treasurer, captain to president and to life membership, to which he was elected by the members for his long and selfless service.

Mr McCready (83), who died last week, also held the position of secretary-manager of Tandragee Golf Club after he took early retirement from his employment with the Civil Service – his last position there was in the VAT Department, based in Lisburn.

His home was at Enniscrone Park, Portadown, where he lived with his wife Mary – he was totally devoted to his family, son Michael and daughters Shirley and Julie, plus their grandchildren Matthew, Jacob, Josh, Charlie, Tarik and Tara.

They mourned greatly the death of cherished granddaughter Sophie. And Hal and Mary felt greatly blessed when the fourth generation came along with the birth of great-granddaughter Ruby. Hal was originally the eldest of a family of three and is also survived by sisters Muriel and Doreen.

Hal McCready was born and brought up in Belfast where he attended Methodist College. He began his working career with the Inland Revenue as a clerk, but was somewhat bored with the job. A favourite family story goes that he took a ‘sickie’ one day to attend an interview for a position with Sun Life Insurance, and was sacked from the Civil Service who learned about the ruse.

Happily, he landed the Sun Life job, but a year later he re-joined the Civil Service in Customs and Excise and he remained there for most of his career, ending up in the VAT Department. He moved to Ellesmere Port near Liverpool in 1958, having in the meantime married Mary in Seaview Presbyterian Church on Belfast’s Shore Road.

When they moved to Liverpool, Michael was a baby and when they returned in 1964, both Shirley and Julie had been added to the family. They settled back in County Armagh, in Lurgan, and a year later moved to Enniscrone Park where Hal spent the rest of his life.

Portadown Golf Club was his second home, where he held a succession of posts – honorary secretary and treasurer, convenor of the match and handicap committee, bar convenor, captain (1985-86), president (2007-08) and, ultimately, life member.

His great friend Tom Madill said, “Hal had a quiet authority about him and was one of the most helpful people in the local golfing scene. He was also treasurer of the NI Secretary/Managers’ Association where his deep knowledge was really appreciated, especially his grasp of VAT. Nothing was ever too much trouble for Hal, a man who really stuck by the rules of golf.”

On the fairways and greens, Hal played the game purely for fun. Said Tom Madill, “Had his game been as good as his admin, he’d have been a Ryder Cup player!”

Mary was Lady Captain at Portadown in 1976, and Hal also organised golfing trips to the Iberian Peninsula for family and friends. And he and Mary were on a golfing trip to Florida when he learned he had landed the Tandragee job after taking early retirement from the Civil Service.

Outside family and golf, Hal devoted much of his time to the Craigavon Cardiac Care Association (CCCA) having been a committee member. He especially supported the annual Christmas draw, selling tickets to boost the funds. And on the wider health scene, he was connected to the Benenden Private Medical Fund within the Civil Service and served on the committee of the NI Branch.

The McCreadys were members of Armagh Road Presbyterian Church where Tuesday’s funeral service was conducted by the Rev Christina Bradley, followed by committal at Roselawn Crematorium.

Donations in lieu of flowers are to the CCCA, c/o Ian Milne and Sons, Funeral Directors, ‘Deo Gratias’, 59 Seagoe Road, BT63 5HS.