Belfast Telegraph

Family's tribute to Co Tyrone father-of-four after he dies while on holiday

By Brett Campbell

The family of a retired Co Tyrone vice principal who died while on holiday with his wife have paid tribute to "a man of great integrity".

Father-of-four Seamus Quinn (79), who taught at St Patrick's Academy for more than three decades, died after suffering a sudden heart attack in his hotel room on the Spanish island of Majorca last Saturday.

"He began to feel unwell after lunch and thought he would be fine after an afternoon nap, but it wasn't to be," his heartbroken daughter Eimear told the Belfast Telegraph.

The fit and active pensioner had spent the morning swimming in a quiet cove outside his hotel in the resort of Cala Sant Vicenc, a place he visited regularly with his wife Angela.

The retired midwife watched as paramedics tried to save her husband but they were unable to revive him.

"Dad was never ill and he had really been enjoying his holiday up until that point - he was always really positive. He was a very honest and trustworthy man who was known for his integrity - his pupils always said he was fair," Eimear explained.

Friends of the passionate bridge player gathered for a minute's silence at Armagh Bridge Club on Tuesday night in remembrance of the competitive player, who had won numerous trophies.

Eimear said her dad enjoyed spending most of his time entertaining his seven grandchildren when he wasn't swimming or walking.

Current principal of the Academy, Fintan Donnelly, said the tragic passing of the former teacher had upset everyone at the school.

Mr Quinn began his teaching career at St Patrick's College in Banbridge in 1960 before moving to the Boys' Academy, Dungannon in 1965.

He taught there as a history teacher and for much of his career he also taught A-level economics.

He was appointed vice principal in 1973, a position he held until he retired in 1997.

"Seamus was a superb administrator who introduced many far-sighted curricular reforms in his role as vice principal," said Mr Donnelly.

"He worked to the highest professional standards and he brought order and innovation to every task but most importantly, he is remembered as a committed and compassionate teacher who made a difference for generations of pupils and as a supportive colleague to the many staff who had the privilege of working with him."

Parish priest of St Patrick's Church, Fr Kevin Donaghy, described the regular church-goer as "extraordinarily generous with his talents" and said he will be missed by many in the local community.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has been providing consular assistance to the Quinn family and the remains are due to return to Northern Ireland this evening.

His coffin will be taken from his home to St Patrick's Church tomorrow evening ahead of the funeral service which will be held at 10am on Monday.

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