Pensioner’s tragic passing unites community in grief

October 25, 2011

By Brónagh Murphy

The funeral of Newry pensioner, Maurice Owens, took place in the Church of the Assumption, Dromalane, yesterday (Sunday), where he had been making his way to Mass a week earlier when he disappeared.

The passing of the popular pensioner, whose body was recovered from Camlough Lake on Thursday, following a four-day search, has devastated his family and united a community in grief.

Hundreds of people were involved in the search for Mr Owens during last week when he disappeared on his way to 10.00am Mass last Sunday.  His disappearance was described as ‘completely out of character’ for the fit and active 73-year-old.

For four days search teams that included his family, friends, members of the community and the PSNI, scanned the greater Newry area in the search.  However, on Thursday evening his family were devastated to learn that a body recovered from Camlough Lake was that of their missing father.

The PSNI said they were not treating his death as suspicious and, following a post mortem examination, Mr Owens’s remains were returned to his family on Friday evening.  Hundreds of those involved in the search donned high visibility clothing and formed a guard of honour, lining the route from Daisy Hill Hospital to his family home in nearby Barcroft Park.

The Owens family thanked everyone for the support and assistance shown to them over the past week and praised the huge community effort in the search for their father.  Mr Owens’ niece, South Down SDLP MLA Karen McKevitt, said the family was shocked at his tragic passing but relieved at having finally found him.

“The messages of support and sympathy that have been coming across our phones and from people calling at the homes, has been indescribable,” she said.

Pre-deceased by his daughter Amanda, Maurice Owens is survived by his wife, Sheila, sons Paul and Barry, daughters Sharon, Corina and Louise, grandchildren, brother Sonny, sister Imelda and wider family circle.  He was laid to rest in Cloughoge Cemetery following requiem Mass in Dromalane.