Robert Turner was verger and sexton in St Andrew’s for 58 years, a remarkable record. He kept the Churchyard in impeccable order, carried out his duties with great dignity and faithfulness, rarely missing a service. Until very recently, he was still playing table tennis, a sport he loved and excelled at and for many years represented Ireland at international level. In earlier years he had also been a cricketer, and was always a keen follower of horse-racing. His rural background also gave him a great love of the land and he specialised in potatoes, growing a large variety at his family home at Shillelagh, at the back of Church Cottage and on moving to Seamount, at the side of the Churchyard in Malahide, and delighted in presenting some of his produce as a kind of ‘firstfruits’ offering.
He only fully retired two days before his death when he told the Rector he didn’t think he could mark out another grave. He worked to the end and will be sorely missed for his faithfulness. He was a weekly communicant and while obviously his health was failing in the last few months, would accept no help coming up for communion until the last time, just ten days before his death when he accepted a helping arm. Robert was a man of deep spiritual devotion and a wonderful example for many.
He will be sorely missed. He was laid to rest in Shillelagh in the family grave after a service in St Andrew’s conducted by the Rector.. May God have mercy on his soul.
We offer our love and sympathy to his wife, Molly his daughters Eleanor (Swords) and Laura (Malahide) and his sons Robert (Germany) and John (Shillelagh) in their great loss at his passing.