EMOTIONAL tributes have been paid to a well-known north Antrim man who died suddenly on January 29, aged just 33, at his home in Elizabeth Place, Deffrick.
Jonathan ‘Jonny’ Blair was at home looking after his nine-month-old son Jonathan but was found dead by his wife Judy when she returned home from work.
He was well known in north Antrim in rugby and motorcycle circles in particular and he was a disc jockey in Joey’s Bar in Ballymoney.
He was a founder member of the Joey Dunlop Motorcycling Club.
Wife Judy said: “I really cannot take it in yet that he is gone. I came home and found him and phoned the ambulance but thee wasn’t anything the paramedics could do.”
Speaking last week she added: “Jonny was such an active person. We don’t know what happened yet, it could have been a heart problem, we just have no idea at the minute. He had so many interests but his family came first and he was just overjoyed when little Jonathan came along.”
Mr Blair’s dad John said: “Jonny was more like a brother than a son to me. We had so many common interests in bikes, rugby and boxing. He was just a remarkable young man who fitted so much into his young life and we have been overwhelmed by the number of people who have been paying their respects.
“This is a terrible time for us but we know that we have to channel this grief into looking after little Jonathan and giving him every support in the years ahead.
Ballymoney Mayor, Councillor Bill Kennedy said: “Jonny was so well known and respected and my sympathy is with his wife and family at this time.”
Mr Blair’s funeral service was held last Thursday where mourners recalled a life packed with adventure.
Trips Jonny had to bear-infested mountains in America; a trip on the world famous ‘Tall Ships’ around Spain and even a trip to Base Camp at the foot of Mount Everest were mentioned.
Jonny was buried in the graveyard beside Tamlaghtard Church of Ireland in the Limavady area. It was the same church in which he married Judy. Their first home together was in Magilligan before moving to Belfast for a time and on to Deffrick in 2007 when Jonny started work in the Planning office in Ballymoney.
Following in his dad’s footsteps he started dj-ing and became a regular in Joey’s Bar where he was the founder member and Chairman of Joey’s Bar Motorcycle Club.
Mourners were told: “A person whose parents and wife describe him as their best friend is obviously someone special. A tremendous friend a special brother and devoted father and husband who with Judy blessed us with baby Jonathan who will ensure Jonny is with us always.”