GREAT sadness was felt locally and further afield at the recent death of Robert Gerald (Gerry) Vennard.

Gerry sadly passed away after a short illness on September 8 in the South West Acute Hospital, surrounded by his loving wife, Violet, and their four children.

Gerry was born in Armagh on February 9, 1934, the youngest of five children, to John and Violet Vennard.

The family moved to Enniskillen in 1937, where Gerry attended Enniskillen Model School and Portora Royal School, where he enthusiastically participated in various sporting activities.

His enjoyment and interest in sport - particularly football, athletics, rugby and indoor bowls - continued throughout his life.

He was an ardent supporter of Manchester United, and took every opportunity to pass on and nurture this passion in his son, daughters and grandchildren.

After attending school, Gerry was indentured as an apprentice with Great Northern Railway (GNR), working in Enniskillen.

Gerry met his wife, Violet, in 1955 and they began their married life in Ipswich where their son, Neil, was born.

In 1957, they returned to Enniskillen and Gerry resumed employment with GNR. On closure of the depot he was transferred to GNR in Adelaide Street, Belfast. During that year, his daughter, Glynis, was born.

He later moved to Ulster Transport Authority, Duncrue Street and then to Ulsterbus, Great Victoria Street.

Whilst living in Greenisland , Gerry and Violet had their third and fourth children, Elaine and Ruthie.

The family relocated to Antrim in 1965, where Gerry began working with Enkalon. However, he missed working at the job he was trained for, and after a few years he returned to work for Ulsterbus in Great Victoria Street, Belfast.

Gerry moved to Antrim on promotion as Depot Engineer, where he worked until 1995. Thereafter he transferred to Enniskillen, where he worked until he retired.

He was a devoted and loving husband to Violet and they celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary in July.

Gerry was a brilliant, witty, caring, kind and considerate father, grandfather, and great-grandfather who ensured many happy and wonderful memories were made with all his family.

He loved gardening, dancing and bowling. He was a member of St. Macartin’s Bowling Club and introduced a popular cross-community Wednesday morning Bowling Club. As well as being an accomplished bowler, he was a highly-respected umpire.

He was an exceptionally gifted man who could apply his creativity, initiative, engineering skills and highly-talented hands to anything.

His family have many memories of seeing him use these skills at home in various DIY projects, and in car maintenance, refurbishing and making good a disused boat, and designing and constructing toys for his grandchildren.

His energy, sense of humour, encouraging and supportive approach, ‘can-do’ attitude, and drive for success never failed him and many of these characteristics and skills were passed on by him to his family.

All those who knew and met Gerry described him as “a true gentleman”.

Gerry was a steadfast and faithful member of St Macartin’s Cathedral community. His faith guided him throughout his life and brought him great comfort during his recent illness, which he bore with great dignity and patience.

Gerry will be sorely missed by his loving wife, Violet, and their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.