There has been widespread shock and sorrow following the death on Saturday of Donemana Minister, Rev Dr Stewart Jones.
The Presbyterian clergyman died after getting into difficulties while diving off the Co Donegal coast at St John’s Point. He was in his 50s and succumbed despite receiving cardiopulmonary resuscitation and being airlifted to Sligo Hospital.
The Presbyterian chaplain at Altnagelvin Hospital, he was a qualified diving instructor an instructor in emergency first response and was a published author. His work included Israel in the Carter Years and British Policy in the Middle East.
The Presbyterian moderator, Rev Dr Michael Barry, said he was “saddened and shocked” to hear of the clergyman’s death: “Stewart served his congregations with great enthusiasm and complete dedication. On behalf of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, I extend our deepest sympathies to his wife Patricia, his three daughters Esther, Rachel and Anna, son-in-laws Liam and David and grandchildren, Lily and Joshua. I assure Patricia, the family circle and indeed the congregation of Donemana of the prayerful support of many throughout the Presbyterian Church in the days that lie ahead,” he said.
The Catholic Bishop of Derry, Most Rev Donal McKeown, said Dr Jones was “known to many people of all faiths and none in his role as a member of the chaplaincy team at Altnagelvin hospital”.
“Stewart was a valuable member of the team and his death will be a great loss,” he said, continuing: “He was outgoing, with a great energy and zeal for life as well as being very down-to-earth and approachable. His family and congregation are in my thoughts and prayers at this time.”
Rev Dr David Latimer, Minister of First Derry Presbyterian Church, who attended theology college with Rev Dr Jones, described him as “a happy, friendly, likeable man” with an amazing intellect.
“He was a guy who was very fair, very staunchly evangelical clergyman, but very fair and very considerate of other people’s views. A conversation with Stewart was always a memorable one because he had such a great knowledge of so many things. His own education extended way beyond theology into social studies. He equipped himself academically.
“I got to know him in the early 1980s when we were at Union Theological College together and he had a great year as Moderator of the Presbytery of Derry and Donegal and was a great ambassador across the city although he lived out in the countryside. He was a people’s minister and was readily able to identify with all people. Stewart will be sadly missed.”