Retired bank manager who worked for his church and the community

Ivan Conner
Ivan Conner

Mourners came from as far away as Cork to pay their respects to retired bank manager Ivan Conner who died last month aged 64.

Ivan led a full and varied life, and was proud of the fact that he had lived in every county in Northern Ireland.

The father-of-two, who was born in Limavady but had lived in Portadown for the past 23 years, died at his Hilton Park home just two days after his birthday, surrounded by his loving family, following a short illness.

His funeral service was held at Armagh Road Presbyterian Church where he worshipped.

Ivan was a long-serving employee of Ulster Bank, and was closely involved with his church, Rotary, the Masonic Club, Portadown Probus Club and Portadown Outdoor Bowling Club. He was also at one-time a member of the RUC Reserve.

Ivan joined the Ulster Bank in 1971 and enjoyed a long and successful career before retiring in 2009.

He started off at the Lisburn branch before moving to Belfast where he remained until 1988. He then had a series of promotions which saw the family live in Cookstown, Downpatrick and Portadown, returning again to Lisburn where he managed the Business Centre after the bank reorganised.

His friend and colleague of 40 years, Tom McCurley, said Ivan could be stubborn, generous, thoughtful and impetuous but was, above all, “always kind” and “loved people”.

Mr McCurley added, “In the bank he saw himself as a relationship banker who retained many of his customers as friends.”

Ivan was also involved in every branch of the Masonic Order, in Portadown, Belfast, Lisburn and indeed the whole of Ireland.

In addition, he was a proud Rotarian and his valuable contribution was recognised when he was awarded the highest honour in Rotary, a Paul Harris Fellowship.

He had recently been elected by his peers throughout Ireland to the position of District Governor, a post he had been due to take up in 2020.

During his time in Lisburn, Ivan was active in Lisburn Chamber of Commerce, where he was president for two years.

His faith and his church were of paramount importance and during his retirement he worked tirelessly in a wide variety of roles.

He was elected an elder in 2006 and ordained on January 28, 2007, and was clerk of the Kirk Session.

When his close friend and elder Errol Whitten died suddenly in February this year, Ivan took over many of his duties, including hall convenor and caretaking when required. Shortly after the retirement of the Office Secretary, Ivan took over the secretarial work of the congregation.

Minister, the Rev Christina Bradley, said, “Ivan was a people’s person, caring and circumspect.

“He was a very organised and meticulous person, discreet, polite, water-tight and very private.

“His diplomatic ability and circumspect manner combined with his friendliness, good humour and caring nature made Ivan a person who is sorely missed.”

She said Christian Aid Portadown was one of the many groups which had sent condolences to the church on their loss.

Mourners heard that Ivan was also a doting father and grandfather, “very proud of his boys and their achievements” while his wife was, in Ivan’s own words, “his one true love”.

Ivan’s favourite hymns were sung at the service - In Christ Alone My Hope Is Found, Abide With Me and How Great Thou Art while the readings were Psalm 27, read by George Conner; Psalm 55, read by Eric Conner and John 14, read by Ivan Stirling.

Ivan’s friend Billy Rogan read the poem, Footsteps.

The family has thanked the Rev Christina Bradley, Macmillan Nurses, Dr Clarke and the District Nurses for their care and support.