The youngest son of family man Ivan Armstrong has paid tribute to his father, a “much-loved gentleman” who was well-known across the local community.

William Charles Ivan Armstrong from Killadeas passed away peacefully at the South West Acute Hospital, Enniskillen on Saturday, October 10 at the age of 90.

Describing his father as a loving man who was very supportive of his family, Ivan’s youngest son Neil said: “He was big bear of a man, he was a huge man and he was very kind and gentle. He was a great family man. He was very supportive and interested in all of the family, his grandchildren and great grandchildren.”

Ivan was a son of Charlie and Henrietta Armstrong from Manoo Cross, Killadeas. After completing his secondary education at Portora Royal School in Enniskillen, at the age of 19 Ivan left his rural Fermanagh home to live in New Zealand, where he went on to work in a bank in Wellington.

“He played rugby in New Zealand and he took a ferry from the south of New Zealand and went hiking in the Southern Alps at the weekends. He lived out there for a number of years and he had a fantastic time,” shared Neil, speaking of his father’s adventurous life.

He noted that his father returned to Fermanagh for a holiday, but ended up extending his stay indefinitely after he met the love of his life Betty.

“He decided that he wanted to come home for a holiday which of course took three months then by boat and when he came home on his holiday, he met my mother and he never used his return ticket,” shared Neil.

On his return to Fermanagh in the 1950s, Ivan joined the Civil Service where he worked for the Department of Agriculture as an inspector, starting out in Ballinamallard but spending most of his working life in Castlederg.

“At his retirement get-together his boss said he was the only inspector who could turn down a grant scheme and still be invited in for tea and buns,” recollected Neil.

Alongside his day job, Ivan was also a farmer and farmed land that he owned at Killadeas.

Ivan had a great interest in rugby, a hobby he shared with his sons.

“My older brother played for Ireland as a school boy and he took a great interest in my brother who was also called Charlie. Unfortunately Charlie was killed in 1989 in South Africa. It was a huge tragedy for the family. His passing was a huge blow to the whole family,” said Neil.

“My other brother Roy played for Enniskillen for many years, they all had a great interest in the game and sport in general. It was a common bond in the family,” he added.

Aside from his love of rugby, Ivan was active in the Masons and was very well-known across the local community due to his sociable nature.

“He was very much a part of the community in Fermanagh, he was known across a great spectrum of the community and he liked nothing more than a bit of a chat,” said Neil, remembering that his father would go to the town to get a newspaper and wouldn’t be back for hours with chatting to people.

Beloved husband of the late Betty, dearly loved father of Roy (Diana), Neil (Jane) and the late Charles (Debra) and adored grandfather and great-grandfather, Ivan is remembered by his family and all the family circle.

“He was just a real, much-loved gentleman,” said Neil of his late father.