One of the most likeable and inoffensive men I’ve ever known regrettably went to enjoy his eternal reward last Monday and his death robs Dungannon of another of its wonderful characters, plunging the community into grief - because the late Paddy Greene was truly widely respected.
Indeed, the Springfield Lane octogenarian’s passing has been mourned far and wide, home and abroad, such was involvement in sport and also through his half-century working as a highly-regarded car salesman in Dungannon and, latterly, Portadown.
Paddy Greene was one of those who was always ready to offer a wee bit of advice and encouragement if askedKevin Hughes
The Springfield Park man lived a very sporting life and many believe that he put more into the sports he loved than he ever got out of them - and that was plenty, whether it be the two with which was most associated, golf and rugby, or others such as GAA and tennis in his youth, boxing, soccer, snooker and horseracing.
The man - a great conversationalist who was eminently friendly, affable and always smiling - who had lived in Dungannon for all of his 82 years, being married to his beloved Phyl for over fifty of those years.
I first got to know Paddy back in the 1960s when I was a humble boardmarker in the bookies - in PG.McQuaid’s and later Frank Hughes’ - and he was a regular punter, because he always liked a wee wager on the ould nags. It was always a joy to see him call in prior to racing to place his bet, before quickly heading back to the car showroom, initially in Hobson’s of Thomas St, then Dan Davidson’s which was taken over by Donnelly Bros, and latterly Prentice’s in Portadown.
Later when I started to play a bit of golf, Paddy Greene was one of those who was always ready to offer a wee bit of advice and encouragement if asked, but he was equally careful not to get involved in the right and wrong ways for folk like me to play shots or approach the game.
As Fr.Seamus White indicated in his heartwarming homily at the Requiem Mass on Wednesday, the highlight of Paddy’s lifelong playing career was a hole-in-one at the notoriously difficult eleventh, a plaque erected there to acknowledge that 1985 feat, which was crucially important in the Dungannon team’s Lawson Cup match.
And there arguably wasn’t a happier man in the world, bar the man himself and his father, when Paddy’s fellow club member Darren Clarke won the Open Championship in 2011. And it was fitting that Clarke’s parents, Godfrey and Hettie, were amongst the many golf club members in church to honour Paddy as his life was celebrated.
He was also an ardent and equally proud member of Dungannon Rugby Club and supported the club teams over the decades through the good times and bad, with the memorable All-Ireland league title triumph in millennium year the big landmark achievement.
And his standing amongst the membership of the Stevenson Park club was evidenced by the presence of so many rugby club folk amongst the congregation on Wednesday morning’s Mass.
But it should be recognised that the mourners included many folk who’d no connection to the golf, rugby or any other sporting clubs. They were simply people who knew and befriended Paddy in the many aspects of his life.
To all I extend my sympathy and to those who’ll miss Paddy most - his wife Phyl, sister Nuala and the family circle.