Northern Ireland

Remembering Hugh McCormack: ‘A gentleman in every way possible’

Fermanagh man was passionate about vintage tractors, cars and lorries

Hugh Francis McCormack
Hugh Francis McCormack

A much-loved husband, father, brother and uncle to his family, Hugh Francis McCormack was also a loyal friend and a wonderful neighbour who could be called on at any time of the day or night.

Time meant nothing to him and he gave it freely to anyone who was in trouble.

He was born in 1960 in the townland of Aughnalough, Co Fermanagh, the eldest in a family of six to Cornelius and Lucy (nee Treacey).

His education began at Ballagh Primary School, then St Comgall’s, Lisnaskea, and Fermanagh Technical College and Training Centre in Enniskillen.

From there, his mechanical career started in local garages until he began his own lorry business, drawing materials from local quarries, which with the help of his family became very successful.

Next came his tar-spraying operation which took him to jobs throughout Ireland.

Hugh Francis’s first love was his family, which started when he met Nuala in 1981. They married in 1986, followed by the births of Siobhan, Elizabeth and Hugh.

But as we all know his second love was vintage tractors, cars and lorries. This knowledge he gained from his own father, who was one of the first lorry drivers in the area, as well as visits to his grand-uncle Alex McCormack in Bunneil, and his uncle John Treacy, whose opinion was always sought. And reading all the vintage magazines he could find.

With the death of Hugh Francis, the vintage fraternity have lost one of the most knowledgeable men in the business. They say when someone dies a book is closed, but in this case it was a library. There was nothing he didn’t know and he was always willing to share and help. If he couldn’t get you a part he would know someone who had it.

His last project was the painstaking restoration of his Ford Ferguson which he was rightly proud of.

Every weekend Hugh Francis would load up his Fordson Major and head for some tractor run – it might be somewhere in Fermanagh, Tyrone, Monaghan, Louth or Meath.

Frankie’s Tractor Run, as his own event as known, was also hugely successful and raised a lot of money for many local charities.

Every weekend Hugh Francis would load up his Fordson Major and head for some tractor run – it might be somewhere in Fermanagh, Tyrone, Monaghan, Louth or Meath

Hugh Francis also had a great knowledge and interest in the history of the local area.

He was a gentleman in every way possible and the large crowd at his wake and funeral in St Patrick’s, Donagh was a testament to the esteem in which he was held by everyone. His death has left a void that will never be filled.

May his gentle soul rest in peace.

Jim MacConnaill, on behalf or Donagh Vintage Club
** The Irish News publishes a selection of readers’ obituaries each Saturday. Families or friends are invited to send in accounts of anyone they feel has made a contribution to their community or simply led an interesting or notable life. Call Aeneas Bonner on 028 9040 8360 or email