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Former Tele picture editor Edward Henry Rowlette 'a true gentleman'


Published 22/06/2016

Harry Rowlette, who has died aged 92
Harry Rowlette, who has died aged 92

Edward Henry Rowlette, a former picture editor of the Belfast Telegraph, has died aged 92.

Harry, as he was known to colleagues, was born in Tullamore in Co Offaly and came to Northern Ireland in 1942, aged 19.

Initially, he was employed in a printing company for a short period before joining the Belfast Telegraph as a photographer.

He worked for a time in the commercial photographic studio before joining the ranks of the press photographers - a job that he continued during some of the darkest and most violent days of the Troubles.

He became picture editor on the retirement of his predecessor, Edward Sterling, and remained in the position until his retirement in 1989.

After that he joined the public relations company Anderson Kenny, working with his good friend John Kenny, well-known for his role in promoting the Ulster Bank.

Harry, who was an avid pipe smoker for many years, underwent a heart bypass operation in 1992.

The operation proved very successful and he remained active until very recent years.

Indeed, he was still driving until the age of 89, when he suffered a broken pelvis in a fall.

Late last year, Harry and his wife, Ida, celebrated their diamond wedding, having married in 1955.

In his younger days, he was a very competitive badminton player. Some time later, he took up bowls and became a member of the Pickie Bowling Club in Bangor.

He was also a member of Helen's Bay Golf Club.

He is remembered by former colleagues as a "true gentleman".

Press photographers Robert Ingram and Roy Smyth recalled him as a man unafraid to offer an apology if he criticised anyone wrongly and also as someone who declined to allow any workplace grievance to linger.

Roy said: "I remember one time we had a heated row, but at the end of the day Harry came to me, said the matter was in the past and we adjourned to the Belfast Telegraph Social Club - the old Inkspot - to settle the matter over a pint of Guinness."

Both Robert and Roy described him as "a very fair" boss.

As well as his wife, Harry is survived by his daughter, Jennifer, who also briefly worked in the Belfast Telegraph's classified advertising department, his son-in-law, David, and grandsons Chris, Connor and Camy.

Jennifer said Harry was a devoted family man and recalled walking for miles along the North Down coast when the family lived in Crawfordsburn.

Harry and Ida moved to Annahilt in Co Down to be near Jennifer and her family several years ago.

Jennifer added: "He loved his regular tot of Tullamore Dew whiskey and was still taking one up until near his death."

A service of thanksgiving will be held at the Church of the Ascension, The Glebe, Annahilt tomorrow at 3pm.

Belfast Telegraph

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