Northern Ireland

Daughter pays tribute to 'exceptional life' of late Methody principal and RAF veteran

Dr James Kincade marking Methody's 150th anniversary at Belfast CityHall in 2018. Picture: Rebecca Kincade.
Dr James Kincade marking Methody's 150th anniversary at Belfast CityHall in 2018. Picture: Rebecca Kincade. Dr James Kincade marking Methody's 150th anniversary at Belfast CityHall in 2018. Picture: Rebecca Kincade.

THE daughter of a well-known former principal of Methodist College Belfast and RAF veteran who died this week has said he led “an exceptional life”.

Dr James Kincade (98) from Hillsborough was head teacher at the south Belfast school between 1974-1988.

Many past pupils including the DUP MP Ian Paisley Jr also shared their memories of “a remarkable educationalist.”

In a statement to The Irish News, his daughter Ruth Beckett said he had been: "A devoted parent, grandparent and great grandparent.”

“Dr James Kincade had a powerful impact on the world around him. We have been comforted by the many testimonials from former students, colleagues and friends this week," she said.

Serving with the RAF in Burma, she said he forged a career as a distinguished academic at Trinity, Oxford and Edinburgh and was later awarded both an Honorary Doctorate from Queen’s University Belfast and a CBE.

Having also served as the headmaster of Royal School Dungannon, his daughter said he was also known as “a protector of the truth and journalistic integrity” as Northern Ireland’s National Governor of the BBC.

"A humble, gentle and kind soul with a fierce wit and an intellect that would run rings around the world's smartest people,” she said.

"His rebellious grin, keen sense of humour and appetite for life, even at times of hardship and strife, made for the best conversations."

Devoted to his wife Fay for over 70 years, his daughter added: "We learned so much and were lucky to have him for as long as we did."

Methody principal Jenny Lendrum paid tribute to Dr James Kincade.

"The Methodist College community was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of former Principal Dr James Kincade. As principal from 1974 to 1988 he made such a difference to the lives of others. Governors, pupils and staff who had him as their principal remember him as a true gentleman who had a genuine interest in the individual, a man who showed care and compassion for everyone and a principal who led by example in all that he did. His legacy is the role model that he was, the remarkable impact he had on so many lives and the important part that he played in the success of Methodist College, Belfast."

The DUP’s North Antrim MP Ian Paisley spent two years at Methody in the 1980s.

“He was a man who influenced many lives across Northern Ireland for the better. My memories of him are very fond indeed, he was very welcoming to me as a pupil and very supportive," he told The Irish News.

“He was brilliant with young people. He tried to get the best out of you, and he inspired young people to love school and love learning."

A funeral service will take place in Hillsborough Presbyterian Church on Friday at noon followed by a private cremation.