Belfast Telegraph

Long-serving DUP Craigavon councillor passes away

Woolsey Smith
Woolsey Smith
Gareth Cross

By Gareth Cross

Former DUP councillor Woolsey Smith has passed away at the age of 88 after a long illness.

Mr Smith died at Craigavon Area Hospital on Saturday surrounded by his family.

He had served on the old Craigavon Borough Council for over 30 years.

Mr Smith was honoured with a plaque in the council chamber on the occasion of his 80th birthday to mark his long-service.

His son Robert Smith was also a DUP councillor, serving as Mayor of Craigavon from 2007 to 2008.

Mr Smith was a dedicated member of the congregation at Bethany Free Presbyterian Church and was a member of the Bright Hours Group.

He was one of the founding members of the Free Presbyterian Church in Portadown.

Deputy Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council Maragaret Tinsley was co-opted into Mr Smith's seat on his retirement.

She said he was the only person who could have convinced her to enter politics.

"He was a close personal friend and I have known him through the church since I was a teenager, he was heavily involved in church life" Mrs Tinsley said.

"I had always said I wasn't interested in entering politics but Woolsey came to me when he was retiring and asked me to look after the older people and children that he worked with and represented and I couldn't say no," she said.

"He always stressed the importance of putting something back into the community, he's a big loss to us."

Mrs Tinsley said that Mr Smith would have been an early member of the DUP.

"He would have been a strong supporter of Dr Paisley, not just for his strong political principals, but for his dedication to his faith," she said.

"He was a loveable character, the quietest, gentlest man you could ever hope to meet.

"I read something recently that said 'wisdom doesn't need to be shouted, it only needs to be whispered', that was Woolsey.

"He would want to be remembered firstly as someone who lived their life for the Lord and tried to do good for their community."

Mr Smith was predeceased by wife Mabel and is survived by sons Stephen, Robert, Gordon and David and daughters Christine and Sharon.

His funeral service will take place at Bethany Free Presbyterian Church on Monday at 12.30pm followed by interment in Kernan Cemetery.

"Will be greatly missed and lovingly remembered by the entire family circle," a family notice read.

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