Lives Remembered

Jamesie Quinn: Proud Derry man who fished with Martin McGuinness and was devoted to family

Jamesie Quinn loved nothing more than a day's fishing on the River Faughan
Seamus McKinney

JAMESIE Quinn was never happier than when he stood on the banks of the River Faughan watching a silver salmon rise to one of the beautiful flies he had created.

As a former chairman of the Faughan Anglers' Association, that was the picture of the Derry man painted by many who grieved his death this month.

A proud Bogsider, Jamesie epitomised all the quiet strength required to bring a family of three sons and three daughters through some of the worst days of the Troubles.

With his wife Sheila and family, he also had to cope with the death after illness of his daughter Siobhan McEleney, the deputy editor of the Derry Journal, at a tragically young age.

Jamesie was known throughout his home city for his humour and wisdom. Beyond Derry, he was also known as one of the late Martin McGuinness’s closest friends. Their love of fly fishing in particular created a bond that shone like a beacon.

Fiachra McGuinness's memories of Jamesie’s fishing trips with his father and visits to the family home on a Saturday morning demonstrate the warmth and strength of that friendship.

"He travelled with my father during the early days of the peace process, he also fished with my father whenever they could," he said.

To the world at large, Jamesie was always the man with the quick reply and the funny story. However, Eimear McEleney recalls her grandfather primarily as a family man, devoted to his wife.

“Granny and granda were inseparable. Even when granny went to town, granda could be found waiting for her in the library nearby in his usual seat by the door.

“He once told me that he had read every western book in the Central Library and I believed him."

A man of simple tastes, Jamesie loved spending time with his extended family, taking pride in all their achievements and gently cajoling them to greater things.

“Between fishing with his three boys and telling stories about his three little girls, granda spoke with the utmost adoration for his children and he found great pleasure in the little things that made each of them unique.”

Eimear said she’d give anything to her one last story from the "heartbeat" of the Quinn family but took comfort from the fact that Jamesie would now share those stories with her mum, his beloved daughter Siobhan.

Jamesie Quinn died on October 9 and was buried at Derry city cemetery following Requiem Mass at St Eugene’s Cathedral.

Seamus McKinney

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Lives Remembered