Mourners gathered in Teemore on Saturday to pay their final respects to former teacher and photographer Pat Reilly who died last month back in the place where he grew up.

The 70-year-old father of four who lost his wife in 2011 was remembered by Very Rev Gerard Alwill as a man “totally devoted to his family” and to the “education of children”.

Mr. Reilly was a popular teacher at St. Aidan’s High School in Derrylin and St. Eugene’s and St. Tierney’s Primary School in Rosslea, where he later became vice principal.

“As a teacher he was passionate about ensuring that every child in his classroom received as much help and as much encouragement as possible, so that they were able to achieve and to succeed to the best of their ability,” Fr. Alwill told a packed St. Mary’s Church.

He described Mr. Reilly as a man “of many passions” which included politics, current affairs and justice.

“He would watch the live broadcasts from parliament. He would read the papers every day. He kept himself informed on all the latest political developments.

“All the recent shenanigans about Brexit horrified him, for he was also passionate about the European project and the peace it brought to our continent,” he said.

In later years Mr. Reilly worked as a freelance photographer, notably for the Fermanagh Herald newspaper, where he took photographs at various social and community events, including football.

“For Pat, these were not just mere occasions to help fine-tune his photographic skills. They were also occasions when he could again meet with people, mix with them and have a chat with them.

“And he just loved to take photos of people, not so much the posed and formal shots, but rather the casual shots of them as they lived out their day-to-day lives," he said.

Fr. Alwill explained how one of the most satisfying moments for any photographer before the surge of digital technology was “that moment after the exposed photographic paper was dipped into the developing tank, when the image gradually began to appear on the paper”.

“To see that image emerge on the paper, to see that it was in focus and that the exposure had been just spot on. Of course, the advent of the modern digital camera has consigned the darkroom to history.

“But, in earlier years Pat Reilly, I reckon, would have spent many hours in his darkroom. For photography was one of the great loves of his life," he said.

Mr. Reilly was born on July 31, 1949. He was the eldest of the two children of Hugh and Rosaleen Reilly, Teemore. He and his sister Mary grew up helping their parents run the local shop in Teemore.

“As a result, Pat had great time for people. Throughout his whole life was a great mixer who enjoyed meeting all sorts of people from all sorts of places and chatting with them,” said Fr. Alwill.

He explained that during the late 1970s Mr. Reilly was out for an evening in the Ortine Hotel in Maguiresbridge when he met a young lady called Maggie May. They were married in May 1978 and settled in Teemore where they brought up their four children, Roisín, Siobhán, Patrick and Aodh.

“Sadly, Maggie died in 2011 and sometime after that Pat himself began to experience bouts if ill-health. As a result, a few years ago he moved to England and settled in Ware, near London.

"This change did him a world of good and gave him a whole new lease of life," he said.

Fr. Alwill said in Mr. Reilly’s death his children have lost not only a father, but someone who was a “very influential and loving presence in their lives, someone with a remarkable range of skills and interests, all of which is bound to have shaped and coloured their lives as they grew up in Teemore and Enniskillen”.

“And we pray too for his sister, Mary, for whom Pat was more than just a brother. He was her very special friend.

“We pray that God will be close to them all and that he will help them all in these dark and difficult days. May he fill their hearts with his peace and with his hope,” he told mourners.