Mourners gathered at St Brigid’s Church of Ireland in Glengormley to pay their respects to Newtownabbey man, Steven Greer.
Steven, who celebrated his 50th birthday in January, was the ‘inspiration’ why Rev Jim Martin set out to build the Martin Residential Trust, a loving ‘home from home’ for people with severe learning difficulties.
Speaking at the service on Thursday, the retired clergyman said that some people would wonder what purpose someone such as Steven could have in life, because of his acute disabilities.
“His purpose in life was to inspire the building of the MRT. The parents of all the residents thank him for that.
“Not many people are blessed with a purpose like that,” he said.
The MRT, which now has 19 full-time residents, was opened over 30 years ago on a site adjacent to St Brigid’s.
The Rev Martin recalled how, when he first met health specialists as the MRT was being set up, they told him the average mental age of the residents was that of an 18-month old child.
He told those in attendance: “That cheered me up, no end - because I like children. They are my favourite people, especially the ‘children’ in the Martin Trust.”
Penny McCanny, the Trust’s general manager, said Steven was “the very essence of the Martin Residential Trust”.
She said there was a tendency in society to measure success through wealth and celebrity status - but that Steven had achieved much more than that.
“He just didn’t create a home - he created laughter and love,” she said.
Steven’s mother Dorothy sincerely thanked the Trust’s staff for their dedication, devotion and the loving care they had given her son.
She emphasised that Steven had always been so happy in the MRT.
Steven was interred in Carmoney Cemetery.