Obituary - Maude Jeffers (nee McAdam)


In August 2012 one of Portadown’s legendary ‘grand old ladies’, Mrs Kathleen Maude Jeffers, has died in hospital after a long illness.

 Mrs Jeffers, who was 95, was the classic character of her generation - the woman behind the family. She lived for her family - her late husband John, and her son and daughters, Sheila Tinsley, David Jeffers and Margaret Speers. She also leaves seven grandchildren - Cathy (Vancouver), Janet, Caroline, Roslyn, Alison, Peter and Richard (both Australia). There are 10 great-grandchildren.

Mrs Jeffers was born Maude McBride on 3rd August, 1917, one of a family of five, of whom Violet Allister (Armagh) is the sole survivor. They were a musical family, their mother being organist at Drumcree Parish Church, and a teacher of music at their home at 80 Church Street. Later on, Maude also became a music teacher, tutoring downstairs while her mother taught upstairs at their home.

In 1935, the young Maude gained the highest marks in the UK in the ALCM examinations in the entire UK. She was educated at Church Street Primary (then Public Elementary) School, after which she attended Portadown College. When she left the College, she began her career teaching music, but gave it up when she married highly-respected local businessman Mr John Jeffers, then the third generation of the family in charge of the newsagents-stationers-toy shop in Market Street.

Mrs Jeffers lived for her family, at the same time enjoying a wide circles of friends and social pursuits. Her husband did so much work for Portadown Golf Club that he was made an honorary member, while Mrs Jeffers became a life member. She was lady captain at Carrickblacker in the early 1950s, and talented with the clubs, being a mid-handicapper. John - who died in 1976 at the relatively young age of 61 - was also a dedicated Rotarian. And such was his wife’s support that she was later made an honorary member of Portadown Rotary Club in 2000.

Their home was at Stewart Avenue, off the Killicomaine Road, although Mrs Jeffers moved to an apartment in Quarry Gardens residential complex at Ballyhannon Road in 1983 where she enjoyed the company, and her fellow residents loved her ability to communicate, her chat and her razor-sharp wit. Her friendly “put-downs” were legendary.

Mrs Jeffers was brought up in Mullavilly Parish Church, and while she and her husband went to First Portadown Presbyterian for many years after their marriage - their son and daughters were baptised there - they later returned to Mullavilly. She was the last of the original residents of Quarry Gardens to pass away, and her death is profoundly felt by the staff and the residents, and most of all by her family, who appreciate her love and concern for them.

They look back on two totally dedicated parents. They realise that John Jeffers could not have kept a business going so successfully, at the same time serving Rotary, the golf club and following other pursuits without ‘the woman behind the man’, and yet she retained her own identity. In later life, Mrs Jeffers continued her love for music. She had a two-console organ in her apartment, and she was vice-president of Portadown Ladies Choir and of Portadown Male Voice Choir, and enjoyed a wide range of music.

The funeral service was in Mullavilly, which was well-filled for the occasion, and the service was conducted by the Rector, the Rev Brian Harper. Burial was in the family plot at Seagoe Cemetery. Donations in lieu of flowers are to the Marie Curie Cancer Charity and to Mullavilly Parish Church Building Fund.