Mourners at the funeral of David Gardner heard how the former Ballyclare Rugby Football Club member had a “love of farming.”
Mr Gardner (44) passed away on Friday, January 31 following an incident on a farm in the Holestone Road area of Doagh.
The service at Kilbride Presbyterian Church on Wednesday, February 5 was led by Rev Gareth McFadden.
Addressing the congregation, Rev McFadden said: “Dave was a very active former member of Holestone YFC and Ballyclare Rugby Club and former employee of United Dairies, where he visited farms to collect milk samples.
“David enjoyed farming and he enjoyed the banter with the farming families he met through the years. He always enjoyed a bit of craic.
“David met Louise in 1997 when he was 21. Due to a cancelled rugby match one Saturday, David and Louise eventually became engaged and then married in 2007 after an extensive courtship lasting 10 years.
“His two daughters were dearly loved by David: Naomi arrived in 2010 and Emily in 2013, completing their family.
“Family was Dave’s true passion in his life and all his plans revolved around his three girls, after hanging up his rugby boots for ever.”
Mourners were told how David’s tragic passing has gifted life to others with his organs being donated. Rev McFadden explained: “Dave was a gentle giant with a big heart that is now beating inside someone else’s precious body. His body was used for organ donation, and so David’s sudden death has gifted life to others.”
He added: “David worked on the family farm from he was big enough to carry a bucket and soon his parents Michael and Roberta had a new farm manager, as Dave adored giving out the instructions to his two ‘farm hands’.
“The banter and teasing was non-stop, with family, friends and any other visitors who plucked up the courage to visit, bearing the brunt of the verbal abuse.
“We can remember this devoted husband, father, son and brother with a sense of gratefulness for his ways, and naturally a sadness at the loss of his company.”