Tyrone - October 20, 1919, Death of Mr. William Cathcart

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File contributed by:  Betty Lynne Bernhardt blb63@comcast.net

Prominent Public Official Passes Away
The hand of death has removed from our midst one of the 
most popular and prominent of our county officials in the 
person of Mr. Wm. Cathcart, clerk of Omagh Union and Rural 
District Council.  Mr. Cathcart passed peacefully away on 
Monday morning last, after an illness of less than a week's 
duration, leaving behind him a record of service in the 
public interest, which it would be difficult to beat.  He 
was a most capable, courteous, and obliging official, and 
his loss will not only be felt locally, where he was such a 
familiar figure and genial personality, but through out the 
entire Union, from the people of which he could not have 
enjoyed greater confidence or more pleasant relationships.  
We can say with all sincerity that no death of a public 
official for a generation has evoked more sorrow or deeper 
expressions of regret from the whole community.  Mr. 
Cathcart was beloved by all.  He was an official far above 
the average, a fact which was recognised by all the 
gentlemen serving on the boards of which he was the chief 
administrative officer.  He possessed a thorough grasp of 
public business, and an intimate knowledge of the various 
Acts of Parliament and Local Government Board Orders 
applicable to public boards, which made his services and 
advice of the utmost value.  He  ? energy, and thoroughness 
in the discharge of his duties, so essential to success, and 
was consistently painstaking, careful and capable. Never did 
an official enjoy to a greater degree the confidence of 
public representatives.  He was implicitly trusted, and he 
proved worthy of the trust.  He was recognised as a man of 
the highest probity and honour, broadminded, tolerant, and 
truthful, a man whose whole life was a noble example to 
everyone around him.
   Mr. Cathcart was appointed clerk of the Omagh Union in 
1889, so that he had just completed thirty years' service 
under that board.  Prior to that he served with equal 
efficiency in the office of the then Clerk of the Peace, the 
late Col. L. M. Buchanan, and the extensive knowledge he 
gained in legal business in that office in early life was of 
the greatest assistance to him in the more responsible 
duties of his new position.  In those days the duties of 
clerk of the Board of Guardians were vastly different from 
what they are today.  The work might not have been so 
weighty then, buy the duties were none the less responsible. 
 Under the old Board of Guardians he gave the utmost 
satisfaction, and when the Local Government Act of 1898 was 
passed, revolutionising the Local Government system, and 
establishing Rural District Councils, Mr. Cathcart continued 
in his position, and by virtue of same became also the clerk 
of the latter body.  The work imposed by the new enactment 
was increased threefold, and in addition, was vastly 
different from the old order of business, but Mr. Cathcart 
soon mastered all its complexities, and established himself 
in the opinion of the boards as a model clerk, while his 
attention, sound common-sense and efficient discharge of his 
duties he gained the goodwill of the Local Government Board. 
 In connection with his duties as clerk of the Union, he had 
placed upon him a large amount of work in connection with 
the preparation of the Parliamentary and Local Government 
voters' lists, and it is well-known how thoroughly, 
efficiently, and impartially his duties in this respect were 
carried out.  Since the extension of the franchise the 
number of voters have been increased almost fourfold, and 
although his duties in regard to registration became more 
exacting and much heavier, they were discharged with that 
satisfaction which was so characteristic of his whole 
   Up to within the last few years the late Mr. Cathcart 
retained a youthful appearance and buoyant physique, but 
latterly his numerous friends could not fail to have noticed 
that he was not possessed of that vigour of earlier years, 
and in appearance he had suddenly aged.  The bereavements, 
which he and the members of the family suffered in recent 
years, told upon his constitution and general condition of 
health.  The late Mr. Cathcart gave three sons to the 
service of King and country in the recent war, and 
unfortunately two of them, Lieut. R.R. Cathcart, Royal 
Inniskilling Fusiliers, and Mr. Andrew G. Cathcart, Canadian 
Forces, were killed at the post of duty.  Their loss was a 
severe and tragic blow to him, and he never afterwards was 
the same bright and happy personage. Mr. Cathcart was very 
deeply interested in the progress of farming in the county, 
and in the welfare of the farming community.  Since the 
rejuvenation of the Tyrone Farming Society he manifested an 
exceptionally deep interest in its work, and was one of its 
most conscientious and hard-working members. For many years 
he acted as one of the hon.sec. of the society, was rarely 
absent from the deliberations of the committee, and was a 
prominent personal8ity at the judge's ring on show days or 
in the horse jumping arena while the afternoon'' programme 
was being carried out.  In no other sphere of labour will 
his presence be more greatly missed.  Mr. Cathcart was a 
prominent member of the Cappagh Parish Church and had from 
time to time filled all the important offices in connection 
with the parish.  He was a most liberal contributor to the 
parish funds, and indeed was generous-hearted to all worthy 
objects, whether for charity, education, or the uplifting of 
the social life of the people.
   As already stated, he passed to his reward after less 
than a week's sickness. As a matter of fact he had been in 
his office on the previous Monday transacting some business, 
preparatory to proceeding to Clogher Quarter Sessions for 
the revision of a portion of the juror's' lists in and 
around Fintona, when he became suddenly ill, and had to be 
removed home.  Medical skill was at once requisitioned, and 
he was attended regularly by Dr. Thompson and Dr. 
M'Allister.  It appeared, however, that double pneumonia had 
set in with other complications, and as the days passed by 
he became weaker and more dangerously ill, and grave fears 
were entertained for his recovery. On Saturday, it was 
announced that his illness had reached such a stage that 
recovery was practically despaired of, and the news of his 
demise on Monday morning, while received with poignant 
regret by the people in the town and neighbourhood of Omagh, 
was not altogether unexpected. Many people have been 
indebted to Mr. Cathcart of numerous acts of kindness during 
his lengthy period of service as a public official, but none 
were placed under a more deep obligation to him than the 
representatives of the Press.  They could rely on any 
assistance he could give them regardless of any trouble or 
inconvenience it might cause him, and with goodwill and 
readiness from week to week at the board meetings, he showed 
them distinct favours in the matter of supplying them with 
information and documents. With the public we join in 
tendering to his widow, who has been again so suddenly 
bereaved, and to his only surviving son, Dr. W. B. Cathcart, 
and his daughter, Miss Cathcart, our most sincere sympathy.
   The funeral, which was private, took place to the 
burying-ground attached to Edenderry Church.

THE TYRONE CONSTITUTION    Friday  October 24, 1919