Shock at sudden death of popular taxi driver

Jackie Tedford.
Jackie Tedford.

The sense of loss felt by the sudden death last week of Jackie Tedford extends beyond his hometown of Portadown.

The 57-year-old passed away in Cork University Hospital following a short illness.

It has created a void felt by his beloved family, plus a wide circle of friends covering many interests.

Jackie was a devoted husband and father, enjoying almost 35 years of marriage to Jennifer and relishing his role as father to Wayne, Kyle, Abraham, Glen and Wendy.

Some small measure of comfort from his shock passing can arrive in the knowledge that Jackie’s final days were spent enjoying his greatest passion outside of family life.

Jackie fell ill during a trip to Killarney with family and friends as part of Edenderry Golf Society.

Golf proved a lifelong pursuit, an interest sparked into life as a boy ‘borrowing’ his mother’s church glove and sneaking off from the family home in Bridge Street.

He enjoyed membership at golf clubs such as Portadown, Lurgan and Portrush-based Rathmore.

His childhood was spent with parents Jackie and Louisa, plus sister Ann, in Bridge Street then Millington Park.

A dance at Shamrock Park in 1979 provided the setting for Jackie to meet Jennifer and his dedication to providing for the family covered employment at the Dunlop and Hamilton store, Bodega bar and Craigavon Shopping Centre as a security guard.

However, he was most familiar around Portadown thanks to his years of service in the taxi trade.

His devotion to the job covered over three decades and a personal touch which resulted in customer loyalty that extended into his own business, JT’S Taxis.

The most rewarding part of his work life was the interaction with passengers, especially those with mental or learning disabilities who he transported on a daily basis to school or jobs.

He took great pride in his reliability and, thanks to a shared sense of humour and mutual respect, maintained a bond with many passengers across decades.

Jackie’s support of Portadown Football Club led to a role as chauffeur to various players, and friendships formed included one with former Glasgow Rangers player Iain Ferguson. In fact, the striker once presented a cup winner’s medal to Jackie.

Jackie’s own playing days in football featured appearances for St Mark’s Boys’ Brigade, Hill Street, Portadown thirds and Edenderry Blues.

His interests extended off the football pitch and on to the tennis court, resulting in the title of County Armagh champion. Jackie also enjoyed snooker and pool.

Golf, however, remained his main sporting pursuit and the purchase of a family holiday home in Portrush led to membership of Rathmore. His popularity around the club was apparent by the many friends who made the trip to St Columba’s Church to join mourners from the area.