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Co Armagh doctor John Fitzroy Gillespie who loved horse racing was 'stalwart' of family

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Dr John Fitzroy Gillespie

Dr John Fitzroy Gillespie

Dr John Fitzroy Gillespie

A popular Co Armagh doctor and horse racing enthusiast, who passed away over the weekend, has been described as the "stalwart" of his family.

Dr John Fitzroy Gillespie (88) died peacefully at his Tynan home on Sunday.

He was the husband of the late Dr Barbara Ann Gillespie, and latterly the late Lady Elizabeth Jane Alexander Gillespie, and much-loved father of Gael, Patrick and Rollo.

His family said Dr Gillespie will be greatly missed by his children, grandchildren, great-grandchild and the wider family circle.

After studying at Trinity College in Dublin, where he met his first wife Barbara, the couple took over Tynan Surgery after the death of Dr Gillespie's father. He went on to practise medicine for 44 years.

Following the loss of his first wife, Dr Gillespie remarried after he met Lady Jane Alexander, who passed away in 2017 and was a sister of Lord Caledon.

Dr Gillespie's love of horse racing saw him become the chairman of the Tynan and Armagh hunt and point-to-point, while he was also a senior member of the Turf Club of Ireland.

In 2008 he was awarded an MBE in the New Year's Honours List for voluntary services to horse racing.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, his son Rollo said while his father spent all his free time focusing on horses, his first love "by a long shot" was medicine.

"He was the stalwart of the family, especially after mum died," said Rollo.

"He had his grandchildren and a great-grandchild as well so everything revolved around Tynan and around the family. He was the link between the whole family."

Describing the outpouring of support the family has received since his father's death as "phenomenal", Rollo added that Dr Gillespie had a great admiration for all of his patients.

"He just loved his patients," he said.

"Even after retirement he would have gone and visited patients who were ill."

Dr Robert Carlile, of Tynan Surgery, recalled Dr Gillespie as "a truly inspirational doctor".

"He dedicated his working life to the patients of Tynan Surgery who he served for more than 40 years," he recalled.

"After the sudden death of his father, Dr Fitz along with his wife Dr Barbara, took over the practice and together they oversaw many changes and developments which they approached with enthusiasm.

In 1994 the practice moved from his home to the newly renovated village school, from where the practice is still run.

"For over 40 years Dr Gillespie provided a superb level of care to his patients and wonderful guidance and advice to those of us who had the privilege of working with him."

Fermanagh-South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew paid tribute online.

She tweeted: "So sorry to hear of the passing of respected GP, Dr Fitz Gillespie.

"Fitz delivered me at home and was our local GP for years - lobbied me about horse racing industry whilst treating me."

Dr Gillespie's family asked that donations be given, in lieu of flowers, to the Friends of Tynan Surgery via Trevor McCoy Funeral Directors, Killylea.

Belfast Telegraph