GEORGE G PATTERRSON

 

"Be Thou my vision O Lord of my heart"

The opening hymn at the Service of Thanksgiving for George, attended by a very large number of people last month, was most appropriate for a man who lived out his Christian belief in all facets of his very full life.

Educated at The High School, he obtained a scholarship to King's Hospital and in 1929 matriculated to Trinity College with the Lord Kitchener Memorial Scholarship, where he studied Economics and Political Science. On graduating he travelled to Ruthin School in Wales, where he was sportsmaster and taught Classics for two years. It was from there that his lifelong friend, Noel Deschamps, decided on a career in the diplomatic service and George returned to Dublin.

That was in 1936, when he applied for a job with J Lyons & Co (IFS) Ltd and after a number of interviews was engaged as a trainee in October of that year. So began an association that was to cover his entire business life not only with the company but with another trainee, Jim O'Meara, who started at the same time.

In the following years he was seconded to London and worked with great success in South Africa, Rhodesia and Canada, where he first met Shelagh in 1949. At this time he took leave of absence to study Theology at Wycliffe College, Toronto, and served time in the mission fields in Western Canada. Later, he decided that his religious aspirations would be best served as a lay person.

He returned to Lyons in Dublin in September 1951 when, with his experience and financial expertise, he was appointed managing director, and in 1970 he became chairman and managing director of Lyons Irish Holdings. He retired from executive duties in 1976 and continued as chairman until 1982. He was also chairman of Tea Importers Ltd from 1970 to 1972.

George and Shelagh married in 1957 and were blessed with four fine children, two sons and two daughters. He was a great family man and had a wonderful way with the young as well as the old. In recent years, with his now grown up family away in Canada, he visited them as often as possible. As recently as last autumn he was there for the christening of his latest grandchild. He belied his years and along with his sense of humour a chuckle was always close to his lips. When his advice was sought, as it often was, he gave serious consideration and deep thought to young and old alike.

He served for many years on the boards of Stewart's Hospital (chairman), the Rotunda (vice president), the Stillorgan Convalescent Home and the Molyneux Home, and was an avid reader with a preference for books on politics, religion and history. He was a keen sportsman, playing scrum half for Monkstown Rugby Club, and was a member of Fitzwilliam LTC, Castle Golf Club and Carrickmines Golf Club, where up to the end of last November he enjoyed his twice weekly nine holes four ball. He had a lifelong interest in many sports and to him sportsmanship was the name of the game.

In all their married life Shelagh was a tower of strength, and together they worshipped regularly and were staunch supporters of the parishes in which they lived

Christ Church, Leeson Park, St Brigid's, Stillorgan, and St Matthias's, Killiney. George's passing has left an enormous void and sincere sympathy goes out to his wife and family, brothers and sisters, from his many friends all over the world who had the privilege of knowing him.

In hospital, a few days before he died, George asked his nurse, when she was taking away an unfinished meal, to please tell the chef it wasn't his fault. That was the way he lived, considerate to the end - a man in a million.