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Baker Paul McErlean, who sold bread to President Bill Clinton, dies aged 87

By David Young

Published 04/02/2016

Paul McErlean at work in the Arizona Street bakery in 1979
Paul McErlean at work in the Arizona Street bakery in 1979

The death of Paul C McErlean - one of Belfast's best-known business figures - has been announced. He was 87.

A former Antrim gaelic footballer in the 1940s and '50s, Mr McErlean was also one of Northern Ireland's leading home bakers.

McErlean's Bakeries,  led by Paul’s late brother Thaddeus, was a highly successful business with outlets in west and north Belfast.

At a difficult time in Northern Ireland's history, McErlean's Bakeries provided employment for the people of Belfast from the 1960s.

Mr McErlean was a former chairman of the Ulster Home Bakers' Association, and was always an advocate for high quality baking in Northern Ireland.

One of Mr McErlean's proudest moments came in 1995, when US President Bill Clinton bought bread in a McErlean's bakery on the Falls Road during his visit to Belfast.

For many years, Mr McErlean was a committed volunteer with the St Vincent de Paul Society in St Brigid's Parish in south Belfast.

His son, also called Paul, is managing director of MCE Public Relations, a highly successful PR firm in the city.

In a moving tribute to his father, his son Paul said: "He was as good a father as there could be; a man with a warm heart and a very generous spirit."

Mr McErlean is survived by his wife, Nell, and children Paul, Áine, Deirdre, Roseanne and John, as well as nine grandchildren.

His funeral will be held tomorrow at 11am in St Brigid's Church, Derryvolgie Avenue, with burial afterwards at St Joseph's Church, Hannahstown.

Belfast Telegraph

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