Belfast Telegraph

Daughter given last chance to see Belfast-born father before he died in Cyprus after hurricane destroyed her home in the Caribbean

By Allan Preston

The daughter of a Belfast man who passed away in Cyprus last month has said she had the chance to be with her father in his final weeks because a hurricane destroyed her home.

Joe Devine was 68 when he died suddenly from a heart attack while watching a football game on television on October 21.

Born on the Falls Road in the west of the city, he married his childhood sweetheart Marie at 18 and moved away to England to raise his children Tina and Ed with his wife before retiring in Cyprus four years ago.

In September, his daughter Tina (45) was living in the Caribbean when the destruction of Hurricane Irma left her cut off from her family.

"My whole home and life was destroyed there", she told the Belfast Telegraph.

"That was what brought me back to Cyprus and gave me my last few weeks with him, which I'm so grateful for.

"He was worried sick for a week as we had no communication. We were lucky to get out; he was worried for my life and then he lost his."

Describing her dad as "very much a Belfast boy", Tina said her parents had always considered the city of their birth to be their home, and were frequent visitors back there to see their large extended family.

"He was never fussy about having a funeral, but we knew we had to bring him home. It took us 10 days with all the paperwork with repatriation," she said. "All his five brothers and sisters are in Belfast, his mother who was the other big love of his life - Margaret 'Peggy' Devine - died five years ago.

She recalled her father as "a cheeky chappy," who looked on the brighter side of life. He was very generous and looked after his whole family, putting them first. He was very much 'you're here for a good time, not a long time'.

"Back in Belfast he loved a pint in the Crown Bar and Kelly's Cellars. He loved to listen to Irish music, we have many fond stories of him at the end of a night putting on Irish tunes and us not being able to get to sleep."

"Even when we got him headphones, we could still hear him singing, which was even worse at 4am."

She added: "He was football crazy, he was a really good player when he was younger. A big follower of Manchester United and Celtic. He actually died watching the football, out of the blue from a massive heart attack."

Tina said she would cherish the quality time she got to spend with her dad.

"He was really in good form in the last few days. The night before he died we went out for a few drinks and he was reminiscing a lot. He told me a lot of stories about the family and where I was from," she said.

"He was such a storyteller, he impacted a lot of people's lives, like all my younger cousins. My grandfather used to say, 'just give me your time' and my dad did that.

"In my head, he's already saying 'get past all this sad stuff, we need to go and have a party now'.

"There's so many people travelling in for his funeral from England and Ireland, so he's getting a lot of attention."

The funeral is to take place in Roselawn Crematorium, Belfast, on Monday at 2.30pm.

Belfast Telegraph

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph