A large crowd from all walks of life gathered at First Coleraine Presbyterian Church to celebrate the life of Dan Christie, one of the local area's true characters, who died on December 31, 2008.
This was a crowd whose diversity simply and fittingly reflected the richness of Dan's life. The Rev Peter Fleming assisted by the Rev Sam Millar lead the praise at the service on January 3, 2009.
Daniel Monroe (known to all as Dan) Christie was born on June 28, 1938 in Coleraine. Educated at Garth House in Bangor and Rossall School in England, he trained in accountancy at Atkinson and Boyd in Belfast before returning to Coleraine to join the family business, Christie's Ltd, one of the few independently run builder's merchants in Northern Ireland.
Son of Daniel Jack and Barbara Christie, Dan married Joan in 1979 and they had three children - Joanna, Harriett and Marcus – Dan also had two daughters, Charlotte and Sarah from an earlier marriage and three grandchildren Dylan, Stella and Isme. A much loved and admired husband, father and friend, Dan's legacy is one that - rather like the man himself - is larger than life yet filled with integrity, generosity, bravery and fun.
On a professional level, Dan was a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland. During his working life he held a number of positions including that of Chairman of the NI Builders Merchants Association.
He was also a keen member of the NI Construction Industry Advisory Council, the Confederation of British Industry and Coleraine Borough Economic Development Committee
His commitment to and fondness for the local community in and around Coleraine is best illustrated by his huge contribution to local business and regional activity. As well as being President of the Coleraine Chamber of Commerce and Industry for several years, Dan was also the Chairman of the EU Fund for Peace and Reconciliation as part of the Coleraine Borough Partnership; Chairman of the Coleraine Safer Towns initiative; Chairman of the Coleraine Branch of the Citizens Advise Bureau; President of the Coleraine Royal British Legion and a Coleraine Harbour Commissioner.
Undoubtedly, his significant contribution to the continuing development of the town of Coleraine and its business life remains apparent today.
Dan joined the Ulster Defence Regiment in 1976 and served as Company Commander in Ballymoney until 1979.
His influence extended into the County of Londonderry serving as High Sheriff for the County in 1977 and as an active and committed Deputy Lieutenant for the County from the 70's.
A commitment to his children and their education led Dan to become Chairman of the Board of Governors at the DH Christie Memorial Primary School and to sit on the Board of Governors at Dalriada Grammar School in Ballymoney.
Dan had a long and distinguished career in the Territorial Army. An ADC to the Governor, Lord Erskine in the early 1960's, he went on to become a squadron leader in the North Irish Horse.
His natural ability to lead and inspire resulted in his appointment as the Honorary Colonel of the regiment from 1998 - 2003. During his tenure, Dan and his colleagues were instrumental in ensuring that the two squadrons within the North Irish Horse remained in existence following the government's Strategic Defence Review.
Outside of work and duty, Dan was just as dedicated to his interests and loves. A keen sailor, he competed successfully in sailing events both nationally and internationally. More recently he was so proud of Marcus when he followed in his footsteps and sailed across the Atlantic in the Challenge Transat.
His role as Joint Master and later Master of the Route Hunt for over twenty years ensued from his love of horses and hunting, a role previously held by his father and grandfather. He took particular pleasure in the training and working of the hounds. Some of his happiest memories from his hunting days involved trotting behind Joanna on her 'Thelwellian' pony.
Dan enjoyed a lifelong appreciation of music - both classical and jazz - and he was an accomplished pianist, an enthusiastic amateur photographer and a keen traveller. Harriett shares these more aesthetic pastimes with her father.
Later life activities included shooting, a pursuit which frequently caused heated discussions with his vegetarian daughter, gardening in the summer months which allowed him to approach his other pastimes in the winter with a clear conscience, golf and spending time with close friends, his children and grandchildren.
Dan was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1999. He fought the disease and its various reoccurrence with courage, a sense of humour and an unwavering optimism. He passed away in the Dalriada Hospital in Ballycastle on New Year's Eve 2008.
His family would like to extend their warmest thanks to all those who supported them during this time. Special thanks go the Macmillan nursing team and to the staff of the Dalriada Hospital whose palliative care for Dan during his final weeks was administered with great compassion, warmth, professionalism and understanding.
Dan is survived by his wife Joan and his children.