One of the most established farmers in Co. Fermanagh, Mr. George Douglas Graham, always best known as Douglas (Dougie), late of Bellevue, Enniskillen, passed away peacefully on December 20, 2016, in South West Acute Hospital, aged 83. His death followed a period of declining health.
A farmer throughout his life, Douglas, a much loved husband, father and grandfather was born into a farming family at Drumcolgny, Letterbreen, a son of William and Margaret Graham.
The youngest in a family of eight - four sons and four daughters - his siblings Ena, Ernest and Dorothy survive him. He was predeceased by his brothers and sisters: Jason, Georgina, Walter and Evelyn.
The family moved when Douglas was three to farm at The Graan, Enniskillen, where fond memories are held of growing up beside the monastery and the friendships that were made.
Douglas was educated at the Model School and in his mid teens went to work on the family farm, farming in partnership with his brother Ernest.
He acquired his first farm at Killyhevlin in 1957. Expanding his farming interests, he bought Bellevue from the Collum family in 1963. In 1965, he bought Kinarla and moved to live there in the late sixties.
He expanded again in 1969 and bought Rossfad from the late Eddie Richardson.
In 1971 he married Laura (formerly Graham) and they made their home at Bellevue. In July 1972 their first child was born - the late Collum. In 1973 followed the birth of Victoria, in 1975 Annalena and in 1978 by Roland.
Douglas continued to focus on farming and in 1996 bought Gardenhill farm at Belcoo from David Fawcett.
A widely experienced farmer, Douglas started out milking at The Graan in partnership with Ernest. He then bought and sold cattle and pigs at Killyhevlin and as his career continued, the pigs filtered out and he predominantly focused on beef cattle and sheep, and latterly suckler cows.
Over the years, Douglas held a number of offices, including being a Justice of the Peace for many years.
An expert judge of cattle and sheep, Douglas judged at shows throughout Ireland.
His farm was used for demonstration purposes. It was the site for the first public farm demonstration of gravel tunnel drainage in the 1970s - attended by up to 1,000 farmers.
He hosted many visitors to his farm including Adam Butler from the Ministry of Agriculture.
Douglas was Deputy Chairman of Fermanagh Farming Society for many years. He joined Fermanagh Show Committee in 1965 and resigned in May 2010 - an association spanning 45 years.
He had been one of four stewards to the secretary at that time in June 1965. He joined when David Elliott was Secretary; David Fawcett was Vice Chairman and William Moore of the Coagh was Chairman.
He served on UFU livestock committees. He was Trustee of the Vaughan Agricultural Institute farm at Tubrid, Kesh, from 1964 until the farm was sold in 1972.
He was a Trustee of the Vaughan Trust from its formation in 1973 until the mid 1980s.
His funeral service was held at Derryvullan South Parish Church, Tamlaght, conducted by Chancellor John Stewart. Burial was in the adjoining churchyard.
Douglas is immediately survived by his wife Laura.
Predeceased by his son Collum, he leaves his daughters and son: Victoria and Mick; Annalena and Justin; and Roland and Clare. He is further survived by his grandchildren: Alice, Catherine, William, Beth, Eloise and Annabel. His youngest grandson Ben was born after his passing.
The funeral arrangements were by Funeral Directors, W.T. Morrison, Darling Street, Enniskillen.