Frank Guckian: public service

Frank Guckian, who died on New Year's Eve in Letterkenny Hospital, Donegal at the age of 82, made an immense contribution to the cultural, social, political and economic life of Derry and Northern Ireland during his lifetime.

Born in Claudy in 1927, educated at St Columb's College, Derry, he went straight into work in the family tailoring business on Foyle Street.

As a young man he successfully established a shirt manufacturing business in Derry and played a prominent role in sustaining this industry in Northern Ireland. This part of his business was destroyed during the Troubles which hurt him deeply.

During this period he was a friend to Terence O'Neill, Brian Faulkner, John Hume as well as other prominent public figures and his political insights were incisive and relied upon by many in Belfast and Westminster.

He was always remarkably calm and was able to conjure serenity out of any chaos. He was vice-chairman of the Western Health & Social Services Board from 1972-79 and chairman from 1979-84. He was awarded a CBE for public service in the early 1980s. His final public appointment was as one of the first commissioners on the Parades Commission from 1997-2000.

He is survived by his widow Dodo, two daughters Joan and Bernadette and two sons Gerry and Neil.