Northern Ireland news

New tragedy for Co Armagh family as husband of woman killed in crash also dies

Portadown couple Sylvia and John McKee pictured recently enjoying a meal out
Mairead Holland

THE husband of a woman killed in a car crash in Co Armagh has also died.

John McKee (74) from Portadown died at Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital on Monday night.

He was seriously injured in the two-car collision on the town’s Northway just before 2pm on August 4. His wife Sylvia (72) died at the scene near their Lurgan Road home. The couple had been travelling home from a friend’s wake when their Peugeot 108 and a Honda Accord collided. The 54-year-old driver of the Accord was arrested at the scene and later released on bail pending enquiries.

A joint service of thanksgiving for the couple took place on Tuesday in Seagoe Parish Church, the date originally arranged for Mrs McKee’s funeral. Mrs McKee’s remains were interred in the adjoining graveyard. A private committal for Mr McKee will take place at a later date.

This is the latest tragedy to befall the family. In 2013 the couple’s daughter Sanya (44) died suddenly on holiday in Poland. She was survived by her three children.

Speaking at the service on Tuesday, the Rev Canon Terence Cadden described Mr and Mrs McKee as a “hardworking couple”.

He said: “We can only try to imagine what the family have been going through in the past week and what they are going through now. You have lost not one but both parents at the same time. You, the loved ones of John and Sylvia, you alone know what you are going through.”

The canon said the couple met on a blind date in 1970.

“John must have been very keen as he lived in Poyntzpass and walked to Portadown to meet Sylvia,” he said.

“He walked every day of the week except Thursday and told her he washed his hair on a Thursday. The real reason was because money was scarce and by Thursday he had run out.”

The couple married in 1984 and celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary on July 7.

Last week their daughter Nicola told the Portadown Times of the family’s “nightmare” following the accident.

She said her father had been fighting for his life in hospital while they made funeral arrangements for their mother.

Nicola described her mother as “fun-loving, caring, generous”, a family woman who adored her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

“She had a brilliant sense of humour. She didn’t act her age and didn’t look her age,” she said. 

“She would have done anything for anyone.”

“She loved socialising and was a keen dancer and loved her nights out. 

“She enjoyed walking and would have sat all day in the sun.

“When dad took ill around three years ago, she didn’t go abroad so much but spent time at her sister’s home in England.”

The couple are survived by their daughter Nicola, son Stephen, 10 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Police urged witnesses or anyone with dashcam footage of the collision to contact officers at the Collision Investigation Unit on 101.

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