Master printer whose work was read avidly through the province

Don Moore
Don Moore

Don Moore was a master of the printing trade – a perfectionist who spent his entire working life at the presses in the local scene, and whose work was avidly read throughout Northern Ireland and far beyond.

After his education at Edenderry Primary (then Public Elementary) School, he went to work at the old Portadown News in Thomas Street. He served his time in the ancient ‘hot metal’ era of preparing news for the presses, right through to the modern-day futuristic computerised method, and the plethora of changes en route.

He worked until he was 68 and retired when the printing firm which he served with such distinction finally closed its doors. And even after that, his expertise was sought after by a County Down company, on a part-time basis.

Don (72) died suddenly at his Clanbrassil Gardens home. It was an additional shock to his wife and family as he hadn’t shown any sign of illness. He and his wife of 52 years, Mrs Vivian Moore, had recently returned from their annual holiday in Spain, and he had been his normal, lively enthusiastic self.

He loved his family dearly, and they were all delighted when a great-grandchild Kayden (2) started the fourth generation. He is also survived by sons Tony and Darren, daughter Michele, grandchildren Carl, Tamara, Chris, Lee, Scott, Toni and Jamie.

A special four-generation picture was taken, with which Don was buried. Carl and Tamara – both of whom live in Australia – were unable to make the funeral, but they sent photographs to be included in the coffin.

One of the proudest moments of his life – and of Mrs Moore’s – was when Tony received the MBE from the Queen. “From the wee streets of Portadown to Buckingham Palace,” his mother proudly recalled.

Don Moore was brought up in the Edenderry area of Portadown, the son of Tommy and May Moore, and he also leaves three siblings – Sherwood, Robert and Tanya. He attended Edenderry School when Alfie Lynas was principal and when Evan Johnston took over circa 1950.

He gained his taste for printing at ‘The Tech’ – then in Church Street – and went straight to the Portadown News printing department, where he started as a message boy. His talents were soon spotted and he rose through the ranks. His fellow workers included Gerry Topping, Robbie Guy, Ronnie Henry, Reggie Scott and Noel Glasgow.

By the early 1970s, he was persuaded to join Morton Newspapers, interviewed by the legendary proprietor Jim Morton, and he remained there for a number of years. By then the revolutionary web offset presses had been introduced by Mr Morton, capable of full colour – and glossy magazines were also turned out by Mortons. Over 20 titles circulated throughout Northern Ireland.

The Portadown News, meanwhile, closed in 1973, with the firm changed to Lithoform and the emphasis exclusively on printing. Don was lured back by the owner Tom Boyd and appointed print manager, a post he maintained until his retirement with the firm changing hands.

They printed newspapers for various companies in Northern Ireland, carried out a wide range of contract work, including the titles owned by Lord Kilcluney, aka John Taylor. Retirement came at a timely period of his life, and the part-time work on a freelance basis suited him admirably.

Other pursuits in his busy life included snooker at the Royal British Legion premises in Thomas Street, virtually next door to his employment, and at the Methodist Institute with the Boys’ Brigade Old Boys in Edward Street – he had, in his earlier life, been a member of the BB.

He was also a keen gardener as the pristine state of the gardens at various homes proved. He and Mrs Moore started off their married life at Seagoe Park, their marriage having been at St Mark’s in 1963, conducted by Canon Tom McGonigle.

Don was also a devoted ‘car’ man, having owned a Mercedes at one time, but which he didn’t much fancy. Most were BMWs, although his last one was a racy red Audi.

His family was number one in his life – he eagerly anticipated the annual holiday, originally in Newcastle and Portrush, and latterly in Spain when the children had flown the nest.

The Moores were members of Seagoe Parish Church throughout the generations, and the funeral at Seagoe was conducted by the Rector Canon Terence Cadden. Son Tony and daughter-in-law Jenny read the Bible lessons, with granddaughter Toni helping with the praise by playing the digital piano during ‘How Great Thou Art’. Mrs Moore’s cousin Gordon Speers led the singing.

Burial was in the adjoining churchyard, and with Don having so many friends in the Royal British Legion, the members laid a wreath and dropped poppies into the grave, as he was a keen supporter of the Poppy Fund.

Donations in lieu of flowers are to the Chest, Heart and Stroke Association and to Seagoe Parish Church, c/o Poots Undertakers, 42 Bridge Street, Portadown BT63 5AB.