Northern Ireland news

West Belfast butcher Thomas Straney remembered as 'pillar of the community'

West Belfast butcher Thomas Straney died at home on Monday following a long illness
Marie Louise McConville

A well-known west Belfast business man has been remembered as a "pillar of the community".

Thomas Straney, known as 'Tucker', died on Monday almost a year after being diagnosed with throat cancer.

Originally from the Pound Loney area, the father-of-five and stepfather-of-two was a butcher who ran the popular 'A'Town Meats' on the Andersonstown Road since around 1980.

The 71-year-old had previously worked as a hod carrier on building sites and a coalman and at one time, he also had butcher shops at Ladybrook and Poleglass.

Having retired in 2018, the west Belfast man found it hard to be away from the business and returned a few mornings a week to keep in touch with his loyal customers.

Mr Straney, who lived in the Lisburn Road area, also had a big interest in horse racing and greyhounds and owned several dogs.

One of his most successful greyhounds was called Naomhin's Chris in honour of his two stepchildren.

Mr Straney was diagnosed with throat cancer last June and started treatment in early October.

He died on Monday at home surrounded by his wife Aine and family.

Speaking to the Irish News yesterday, Mr Straney's stepson Chris Love described him as a "walking genius".

"There was nothing he didn't know about," he said.

"He was an absolute legend when it came to quizzes, he and Mum would regularly come from the odd pub quiz celebrating their win.

"He loved to read and would walk down to Lisburn Road library. His bedside table would be stacked high with history books and biographies.

"I often wondered where he found the time to read them all. He went back to college in his sixties and sat his A-Level history exam. We were all so proud when he passed as was he."

Mr Love added that his stepfather was "very healthy and walked from the Lisburn Road to the Clonard Novena and back every Thursday and St Paul's and back every Monday.

"Although he could be shy and private he could be very witty at times and never felt more at home than having the banter with his customers over the butcher's shop counter.

"He was very hard working, a pillar of the community in Andersonstown and generous with his time."

Requiem Mass for Mr Straney will take place at noon at St Agnes's Church on Friday, with cremation at Roselawn Crematorium at noon on Saturday.

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