Tributes paid to tragic Bessbrook Minister

July 21, 2014

By Christine Keighery

Tributes have been paid to Rev Dr Stewart Jones who died in a diving accident last Saturday 12th July. The 56 year old Presbyterian Minister, who was originally from Bessbrook, was a qualified diving instructor and first aid instructor.

It is understood the father-of-three got into difficulty at St. John’s Point, a remote strip of land in the south of Donegal.  He was brought to shore by a second diver after a freak wave, but CPR carried out by the Malin Head Coastguard proved unsuccessful.

Newry based Moderator Dr Michael Barry led a service of thanksgiving for Rev Dr Jones which took place in Donemana Presbyterian Church in Co Tyrone where he had served for the last 10 years. Dr Barry said Dr Jones had served his congregation with “great enthusiasm and complete dedication” and assured his wife Patricia and entire family circle of the “prayerful support of many throughout the Presbyterian Church in the days that lie ahead.”

Rev Dr Robert Buick, a close friend of Dr Jones described him as “a big guy, not just physically, but mentally and spiritually” and recollected his early days growing up in Bessbrook, where he was a boy scout and where he developed his love and passion for the outdoors.

Dr Jones was also Presbyterian chaplain at Altnagelvin Hospital and was a respected academic who had published many works including “Israel in the Carter Years” and British Policy in the Middle East 1966-74.”

Newry and Armagh MLA Danny Kennedy, who had gone to school with Dr. Jones paid tribute to the minister, describing him as “a lovely fella, a very fine fella,” who was “academically gifted and very clever.”