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In memory of Denis McKey

Denis McKey

Denis was born in Hallsmill on 6th April 1937, the second son in a family of 6 children to Jack and Jane McKey.

He attended the local Bann Primary School until he was 16 and left to gain employment. Unlike others from the local area, Denis moved to London and worked in the hospitality industry – in no less than the Savoy Hotel! While working there, a linen industrialist, Mr. Boyd, from Bangor here in Northern Ireland got to know him and offered him a position as a ‘houseman’ for himself and his wife. I suppose that was the equivalent of Mr. Carson in Downton Abbey and there’s no doubt Denis would have been completely at home in Downton! When Mr. Boyd passed away, Denis remained to care for Mrs. Boyd and eventually moved to Holywood after her death.

As a young lad, Denis showed a natural musical ability and was encouraged to take piano lessons here in the parish. Like his sister Rhona, he was a gifted musician. He always came home from Bangor at weekends and played the organ here in this church for Mass and devotions. He mentored his sister Rhona and she eventually took over, but Denis still returned any time he was needed. He loved all classical music and church music and has left mountains of sheet music in his home.

Denis had a great flair for design and fashion and it was no problem for him to make curtains and sort furnishings – (he had three sewing machines in his home).He was even commissioned to design the interiors of some houses! Although a very private person, Denis was a born entertainer and loved telling jokes – especially very long jokes! He was very close to all his nephews and nieces and they always looked forward to his visits home.

Among his many, many talents, Denis also fixed clocks and read tea leaves! But his greatest gift was his ability to light up a room when he entered. Denis always had a smile on his face.

Unfortunately, the light went out for Denis on Friday after a very short illness – just over two weeks! But as he lay in the City Hospital, his family were with him, playing music into his ear. 

 

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