Widespread sadness has been expressed, locally and beyond, at the death of William Robert Dickson, holder of the CBE. He passed away peacefully on August 22, 2017 at SWAH, following a relatively short illness.

William was born in Tullycreevy, Monea on February 7, 1931, the elder child of Sam and Elizabeth (nee Scott). His mother died before his second birthday. Willie was educated at Enniskillen Model School and Portora Royal School where he greatly enjoyed being in the school’s Cadet Force. 

His schooling was abruptly terminated when he was 16 as his father died suddenly aged 47 and Willie took up the role of being head of the family and running the family farm. So duty and responsibility came very early to him and they certainly shaped his life.

He married Joan Dickson, Donegall House, Springfield in January 1954 and the couple set up home there before their first child was born. They had 60 years of a stable, long and happy marriage and they had five children, brought up in a loving home, who they both encouraged to do their best and spread their wings. Joan sadly died in June 2014.

Willie was always active in the community and following the disbandment of the USC, joined the Ulster Defence Regiment rising through its ranks to serve as Regimental Colonel from 1988-91. 

During this time he was awarded the MBE, the OBE and later on the CBE. He was a very unassuming man who did not look for these honours but was regarded as someone who was popular, respected and courageous. 

He remained involved in Regimental matters, providing support to veterans almost to his death.

Meanwhile, as his family was growing up, he continued to farm, at Springfield and Monea, central to the community which he loved dearly.

He had a very clear view of his heritage and was very close to his wider family circle, friends and neighbours.

He was active in supporting schools, being on the school boards of Moyglass Primary, to its closure and Enniskillen High School.

He was very active in the Cooperative Movement, starting as a milk supplier to Springfield Creamery. He then played a pivotal role in the 1978 amalgamation of Springfield, Derrygonnelly, Irvinestown and Killen creameries to form West Ulster Farmers Ltd.

He worked enthusiastically and tirelessly as Chairman of this cooperative, a role which he continued to his death and for some time also represented the Northern Irish Agricultural Cooperatives at national meetings as Chairman of the Ulster Agricultural Organisation Society.

In 1993 he was appointed High Sheriff for County Fermanagh, a role which he was honoured to fulfill.

Willie had a deep commitment to church life. He was a lifelong worshipper in Devenish Parish Church and served for many years on the Select Vestry, holding roles within the church synod.

Throughout his life, he was known for his generosity, donating where there was need but more importantly being generous of spirit.

He was well regarded for his modesty, dependability, loyalty, integrity and humour to all who met him in the many roles he held within his lifetime, treating everyone the same, with courtesy and friendship.

William’s greatest joy was his family and he leaves his children, daughters, Marion, Alison and Joanne, sons, John and Malcolm, sons and daughters in law, John, Adam, Alex, Rosalind and Cathryn.

He loved his grandchildren, Iain, Clare, Paul, Rebecca, Alice, Fiona and Caroline dearly, following their interests and travels closely.

He was predeceased by his wife Joan and his brother Sam. 

He is survived by his younger sister Alice and brother Eric.

He had the fullest of lives, a useful life and what can be described as a life of service to the community.

His well attended funeral service was conducted by the Rev. Sampson Ajuka at Devenish Parish Church, Monea. The organist was Mrs. Gill Spence.

He was laid to rest in the adjoining churchyard. The funeral arrangements were carried out by Austen Stinson, W.T. Morrison, Funeral Directors, Enniskillen.

Donations in lieu of flowers are being made (via Austen Stinson) to Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund which he had liberally supported since Joan’s death.