The death of well-known Ballymena man Billy Leacock evoked much sadness locally and in the wider community.
Billy, who was 75, died peacefully at his home on Cullybackey Road after a long and courageous battle against illness.
Born in Ballymena on August 28, 1937, Billy spent nearly all his working life with Gallaher Ltd. On completion of 30 years service he was presented with a watch and soon afterwards he retired aged 50, having been a supervisor in the engineering stores.
Before taking up employment with the cigarette company at Lisnafillan, Billy worked for a short time as a pay clerk with the Ulster Transport Authority.
In 1961 Billy met his wife-to-be, Sadie (nee Webster) from Armagh, and the couple were married in that city’s Mall Presbyterian Church in 1966. Their 46th wedding anniversary took place on April 1.
They had two daughters, Debbie and Wendy, and in retirement Billy relished being in the company of his grandchildren, Christopher, Aoife, Poppy and Rory.
Billy took a keen interest in sport and in younger life he played hockey for Ballymena. He was also a drummer in Cullybackey pipe band.
Rev. Norman Cameron who conducted a Thanksgiving Service for Billy’s life in High Kirk Presbyterian Church, where he was a regular worshipper, described him as a “family man, a quiet man, a gentleman and a humble man who did not want attention to be drawn to himself “.
Mr. Cameron alluded to the “loving care” which Sadie and her family showed to Billy until his passing last Monday.
Rev. Richard Houston, the church’s assistant minister, took part in the service, at which the mourners included High Kirk former minister, Dr. Russell Birney. A personal tribute was delivered by Billy’s brother-in-law Arthur Miskelly, who fondly recalled many holidays that his and the Leacock families enjoyed on the north coast.
“Billy was one of the most hospitable, tolerant and forgiving men that I encountered,“ he said.
Sympathy is extended to Billy’s devoted wife, daughters, sisters-in-law Marguerite and Doreen, son-in-law Fergal, brother-in-law Arthur, grandchildren and the entire family circle. Following the service Billy was laid to rest in Cullybackey New Cemetery.