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Evangelical Orangeman Ian Kennedy, who died in collision, laid to rest

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The funeral of William Albert (Ian) Kennedy yesterday

The funeral of William Albert (Ian) Kennedy yesterday

The funeral of William Albert (Ian) Kennedy yesterday

An Orangeman who took the Gospel to remote parts of Ireland "died doing what he loved most", mourners have heard.

Members of the Orange Order and Royal Black Preceptory were among mourners at the funeral service in Donemana of Ian Kennedy (67), who was the driver of a car which collided with a 4x4 vehicle in Co Cavan on February 28.

The crash also claimed the life of his passenger and fellow Christian outreach worker Joan McAlister from Portadown.

Mr Kennedy, who was a member of both Orange and Black institutions, was described by Rev Robin Stockitt as a man who was kind, considerate and who always put others first.

Rev Stockitt told the congregation gathered in St James' Church of Ireland how the death eight years ago of Mr Kennedy's wife Margaret, who had been among those injured in the Omagh bomb, had deepened his Christian faith and led him to join the Irish Evangelistic Band.

His sudden passing has left all of us shocked and distraught. He died doing what he loved most and Ian would be the first to say that he was ready to meet with Jesus Christ his saviour Rev Robin Stockitt

Rev Stockitt said: "In 1981 Ian met the love of his life, Margaret, at a dance hall and went on to marry her in 1982. Ian and Margaret spent 30 happy years together.

"Margaret was unfortunately caught up in the Omagh bomb in 1998 and suffered the after-effects of that trauma for the rest of her life. Some eight years ago Margaret passed away and Ian felt the loss of his wife very keenly.

"Ian would say that his Christian faith deepened during this period of grief and he dedicated the last seven years of his life to the service of God in the company of friends from the Irish Evangelistic Band."

Mr Kennedy was travelling with another member of the outreach group when the tragedy happened.

He was a generous-hearted man. Ian was a kind and considerate person. He always put other people ahead of himself. He was always there for everyone Rev Robin Stockitt

Rev Stockitt added: "His sudden passing has left all of us shocked and distraught. He died doing what he loved most and Ian would be the first to say that he was ready to meet with Jesus Christ his saviour."

The congregation was reminded how Mr Kennedy combined his love of music with his love of God.

Rev Stockitt added: "Ian loved music, especially the Blues of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Ronnie Greer. In later years he loved listening to Gospel music and playing his guitar.

"He was a generous-hearted man. Ian was a kind and considerate person. He always put other people ahead of himself. He was always there for everyone. Ian was a man of strong opinions. He travelled all over Ireland serving his saviour. Ian knew how much having Jesus in your heart could change and restore one's life and he wanted everyone to know the love and mercy of Christ."

Following the service, Mr Kennedy was laid to rest in the adjoining cemetery.

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