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Sam Cross

Sam Cross, who died on the 18th September, 2014 was born on March 7, 1930. The only son of Sam and Margaret Cross, 16 Newlands Road, Magheramorne, he attended the local Blackhill Primary School and as a teenager, moved to Larne Technical School.

Then followed a lifelong career in pharmacy with Sam's working life starting with J W Sandford in Larne and continuing until the business closed on JW's retirement.

Sam continued with his studies at night school and had no trouble obtaining another position. Over the years he worked for Dick Ross, John McFarlane and Dundee's, in Glengormley, from which he retired. Sam then worked part-time in Photo Pharmacy for Anne-Marie, in McFarlane and Woodside.

One attribute obvious when meeting him was that Sam always had time. He was patient, sensitive and very much a people person. This was much appreciated when advising on medicine, demonstrating a new camera or offering an opinion in a committee situation.

In the 1940s - early 50s, Sam cycled. That was his transport to and from work, whatever the weather, and also for recreation. He attended the Festival of Britain Exhibition in London in 1951. With a colleague, he cycled four days there and four days back.

Sam learned to fly. At weekends he made his way to Newtownards and flew an old Tiger Moth bi-plane up and down the Ards Peninsula, attired in leather helmet and goggles.

In the pharmacy, it is well known locally that Sam devised a very effective cough mixture. One lady apparently came all the way from Lisburn and introduced herself by saying that she'd heard the medicine was "to die for". Sam told her this was not the case: it was supposed to keep her alive!

Sam was also well versed in old folk remedies. This was thoroughly researched and he was much in demand as a speaker at organisations and groups.

He was also a fully trained chiropodist and podiatrist, qualifying in 1960.

Sam was an authority on local history and was an enthusiastic member of the Historical and Folklore Society, again, in demand as a speaker.

He was also an instructor who lectured an examined first aid in youth organisations on behalf of St John Ambulance and Red Cross.

Leisure activities included a love of reading and poetry. The works of Robert Burns were particular favourites and he was frequently asked to "address the haggis" on Burns Night. Such was his depth of interest that Sam was a guest at the Burns Conference, in Maryland, USA.

In the 1960s, Sam found another activity, setting clues for treasure hunts.

However he is best known for his photographic work. It was a hobby with which he was associated all his adult life, and as well as selling the equipment, he was a lifelong member of Larne Camera Club and his work was exhibited and admired by many. He was commissioned for weddings and special occasions of all kinds and the work was always carried out in the same quiet, efficient manner that was so characteristic of Sam and very often, assisted by his cherished wife, Olive.

At age five, Sam joined the Sunday school in this church. Attendance and knowledge were assessed yearly by examination, with book prizes awarded. The top pupils, however, won a medal and Sam succeeding in gaining one.

Later, he confessed to be a little disappointed as the medal sat in its box on the mantelpiece. He felt if he had got the book instead, he could have enjoyed a good story.

The Church in Magheramorne was a significant part of Sam's life. He became a full communicant member in May, 1953, was elected to committee in 1954 and a member of Kirk Session since 1992.

He was appointed honorary auditor in 1972 and continued to serve until retirement in 2009.

Whatever the occasion, Sam was always there with an entertaining story to lighten the proceedings. When Rev McAuley was called to Whitehead after acting as their Convenor, Sam quipped at his leaving 'do', "Never again would Magheramorne loan anything to Whitehead". At the elders' service he played a major part by giving the address.

In the Bible, one of the accepted meanings for pillar is that of a strong support to hold the roof of the temple. Sam was that strong support - quiet, unobtrusive, always there when needed.

In the home, at his numerous leisure events, at work or in the Church, he could be relied upon to do what was needed at the right time.