ONE of the most familiar and respected members of the Loyal Orders in Ballymoney and district, Mr. Robert John (Bob) Dickie has passed away.
Mr. Dickie, who would have been 80 years of age on December 1, lived at 11 Carnany Gardens, Ballymoney, with his devoted wife of almost 60 years, Doreen whom he met at dance in Ballymoney Orange Hall.
Bob Dickie was an authority on the Loyal Orders, particularly the Royal Black Preceptory. He had been a member of the Black for 40 years; was a past master of RBP 309 and will be best remembered as a District Lecturer, a role he performed with some distinction for some 35 years. Indeed, he ran lecturing classes for both the Orange and Black.
Seldom was there a function involving either the Orange or Black in which Bob did not play a leading role. He was a familiar face on platforms and his ability to speak with knowledge and confidence at short notice earned him much praise from his colleagues.
Bob first joined Drumaheagles Lodge and was Worshipful Master for some ten years before joining Ballymoney 956. He had also been a member of the Apprentice Boys for a short time and was made a life member of the Orange Order in recognition of his sterling service. In all, he was 56 years in the Order.
Even though his involvement with the Loyal Orders took up much of his time, Bob was a devoted family man. He was also a hard worker and honed his skills at plastering from an early age.
Born in Penrith in the Lake District Bob came to live with his grandparents in the Loughan area when he was 18 years of age. His father originally came from Ballymoney.
Within the building industry, Bob Dickie was recognised as someone who was meticulous in his trade. No job was considered trivial and, as a result, he was never out of work. And when full time plastering became too much for him, he took up new employment with the local Health Trust carrying out maintenance work at various locations in the North Antrim district before being forced to take life easier after a heart attack.
A member of the B Specials, Bob will be remembered by his peers as a very useful footballer. He turned out for junior club, Penrith, before being signed up by Carlisle United. He played there a couple of seasons until a bad knee injury effectively ended his career at a time when the specialist skills on repairing such an injury were not available thus robbing him of what could have been a successfull soccer career.
However, when Coleraine and Glentoran football clubs learned of his skills, they offered him the chance to sign which, reluctantly, he was forced to decline.
Bob also loved hunting with his Springer Spaniel, Pepe, and Boxing Day was always one of the highlights of the year when he would go out in search of game. He also had a fondness for animals and as the minister pointed out at the funeral service, his cat and dog at Carnany Gardens, were mouring him just as much as family and friends!
The Rev. John Anderson, who carried out the funeral service at St. Coleman’s Church, described Bob as a faithful worshipper and said he could be described as an elder statesman and a staunch advocate of the Church of Ireland.
Such was the standing in society of Bob that fellow members of the RBP formed a guard of honour at the Church and carried his coffin to the graveside.
Bob is survived by his wife, Doreen, and by family members, Eva, John, Linda, Christine, Pauline, Alison and David to whom much sympathy is extended.