Lives Remembered

Vivian McKee: Loving husband and father and dedicated GAA man

Vivian McKee died aged 81 on September 5

VIVIAN McKee gave a lifetime's service to the GAA in Co Armagh.

It began as a footballer with St Mary's in Granemore, later moving to play with Keady Michael Dwyer's.

He went on to coach and manage many underage teams, travelling all over the country in one of his happiest roles, and he represented the club as a referee for many years.

Vivian was also a keen hurler, playing with Lámh Dhearg in Keady and serving as a committee member and progressing to honorary president, which he greatly cherished.

His advice and guidance were greatly valued as a county board representative in football and hurling, and also as Armagh hurling secretary for a number of years.

Busy almost every night, whether it be meetings, lining out the pitch or helping around the ground, he had a vast knowledge of facts and figures and his organisational powers were remarkable. Michael Dwyer's recognised his dedication with a Hall of Fame award in 2011.

But perhaps his lasting legacy is Keady's Gerard McGleenan Memorial GAA Park, of which he was the last original trustee.

Vivian was a founder member of the committee who began fundraising in 1971 to purchase the land on the Armagh Road.

The field opened six years later and remains a testimony to the work of those men.

Born in Darkley in 1936, Vivian was the eldest son of Arthur and Mary Ellen McKee.

After primary school in Darkley and Keady's Technical School, he went to work in Darkley Mill.

From there he went to the north of Scotland to work with his father on hydroelectric schemes.

The family moved to Keady in the 1950s where he would meet his future wife, Kathleen. They married in 1959 and enjoyed 58 years of happily married life together.

Vivian worked for a while as a breadman but spent more than 25 years on milk floats around Co Armagh. Warm and outgoing by nature, he loved to stop to chat with customers.

He was a dedicated committee member of the local branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann and loved the sessions on Wednesday nights in Cassie's, where he would always render a song (or two).

Back in the 1950s he had played the bagpipes in Keady Pipe Band, performing with Jack and Tommy Makem, Jimmy Finnegan, the Morgans and McGuinnesses, to name just a few.

In recent years, he joined Keady Indoor Bowls Club and enjoyed taking part in the local league.

All his married life, the family lived in Crossdened Row. A devout Catholic, Vivian was deeply involved in parish life and served as a Eucharistic minister for many years.

A loving husband, father and grandfather, his dedication to his home and family was exceptional.

Vivian McKee died on September 5 at the age of 81. He is survived by his wife Kathleen, sons Brian, John, Eamon and Cathal, daughter Patricia, and 12 devoted grandchildren.

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Lives Remembered