Educator, farmer and stalwart of Lurgan Show David Riley (89) passes away

Mr David Riley
Mr David Riley

Mr David Riley, a stalwart of Lurgan Show and well known former principal and teacher, has passed away in his 90th year.

Mr Riley, a farmer from Knocknamuckley, was Vice President of Lurgan Show and regarded as the backbone of the organisation for decades.

Though in his 90th year, he had been attending meetings of Lurgan Show until recently.

David assumed role of Honorary Show Secretary on 21st November 1983, a position he held until October 2001.

David and his wife Stella also held position of Sheep section joint secretaries for many years only concluding that role four years ago.

He was also an honorary Life member.

Mr Riley had a long history of involvement in rural development, sitting on the board of both CARD and SOAR.

As a local farmer he had a special interest in animal husbandry and breeding.

David was also a regular attendee at both the Northern Ireland Shows Association and the Irish Shows Association

But many will remember him most in his professional career as principal of Killicomaine Intermediate School later to become Killicomaine Junior High School.

He was a pioneer and an avid supporter of the Dickson Plan in the Upper Bann area.

Former colleague at Killicomaine JHS, Mr Kenneth Twyble said Mr Riley was a wonderfully resourceful man and gave great leadership to the school.

He said: “An amazing number of former pupils who are now adults are able to look back and be thankful for the sound foundation for life they received at his hands in Killicomaine.

“He will be sadly missed but fondly remembered by so many pupils and colleagues,” said Mr Twyble.

In his early years Mr Riley was a pilot in the Royal Air Force flying early jets such as Vampires and Meteors in the early 1950s. Indeed he finished his career with the RAF as a Flying Officer.

His family said: “He was a very influential parent and will be very much missed.”

Mr Riley was also a long time member of Edenderry branch of the Ulster Unionist Party.

He also held directorships on a number of organisations including Lurgan Forward.

A keen historian, Mr Riley also wrote extensively and had a book published on Seagoe Parish.

Writing on their Facebook page, Lurgan Show said: “It is with deep sadness we announce the passing of Mr David Riley, our Vice President and Hon Life Member. David has been in Lurgan Show forever and we will miss his advice and guidance. More importantly we will miss his kindness. Deepest sympathy to Stella and all the family

He was also chairman of the Lurgan Master McGrath Festival committee.”

Mr Riley is survived by his wife Stella, his six children, Marshall, Neil, Audrey, Douglas, Gilbert and Graeme as well as his 13 grandchildren.

A Funeral Service will be held for Mr Riley on Monday at noon at Seagoe Parish Church.