Obituary: Fond memories of Arthur Lawrence Dobson from Sandholes, Cookstown


Arthur Lawrence Dobson was born on 25th November, 1930, the only son of Arthur and Lilian Dobson.

His father passed away whilst he was still a child and his mother went on to remarry Thomas Davidson from Annahone, Stewartstown, where Arthur spent his formative years.

In the late 1940s, Arthur met Eileen Spratt and married in 1950. They set up home at Claggan, Sandholes, his birth place where they had a family of eight, three of whom died during infancy.

Within a short time, Arthur had developed a successful farming business with Eileen looking after the stock at home. In 1954, he bought a Ford Major tractor with an hydraulic digger fitted to the rear and carried out drainage work on the country, initially being driven by Sean Cush and later by the late John Dobson.

Such was his success, that in 1961 Arthur bought a new JCB 4 digger which was often seen around the locality with a motorcycle in the front bucket; Arthur’s means of getting to and returning from his sites.

In due course, several more machines were purchased so diversification took place, resulting in threshing, digging, hedge-cutting, combine-harvesting, baling and silage making in the general locality.

He was also a self taught mechanic, spending many hours with John in the machinery house, with his son Thomas following on in the contracting business.

Arthur was very much set in his farming background but yet many innovative skills came to the fore when required. He maintained that necessity was the mother of invention.

As time progressed Arthur and Eileen took more interest in rearing beef cattle which he took a great pride in often inviting visitors at the house to view. Arthur was a big man in stature, weighing himself at Dungannon cattle mart at 25 stones as he couldn’t find any other scales to weigh him. In his mid seventies, he took a well deserved retirement, spending his days with Eileen and family.

His late wife Eileen read the scriptures on a daily basis and saw him come to meet the Lord. Reverend Patterson visited often and when finished reading the scriptures and praying in September 2009, Arthur told him he would like to be saved and did so that day.

This marked a change in his life, bringing with it a greater sense of contentment and his faith gave him strength in his latter years.

Arthur fell into ill health around two years ago after the death of his wife Eileen, and was cared for at home by his sons Thomas, Desmond, David and, in particular, Arthur and Linda.

His condition did not improve and he was admitted to Craigavon Area Hospital on Wednesday, 2nd March, with daughter Linda by his side.

A service of thanksgiving was held at All Saints Church Crossdernott on Saturday the 5th of March, which was widely attended by all sections of the community. Arthur was predeceased by his wife Eileen in October 2013.

He leaves behind four sons Thomas (partner Goretti), Arthur jnr (Dorothy), Desmond (Suzanne), David (Edel) and daughter Linda (Ernie) and several grandchildren and great grandchildren.

The entire family would wish to thank Dr Brown and his colleagues (The Oaks Centre, Cookstown) for their professional advice over the years, Enable Care team for their daily visits, district nursing Dungannon, social workers, Marie Curie nurses for their care and attention and Darren Allen’s Pharmacy, Cookstown.

The family also wish to thank Reverend Malcolm Patterson for his ministry over many years and the sumptuous tea provided by the ladies from Cookstown Independent Methodist Church.

The funeral arrangements were carried out by Fred Martin and sons in a very sympathetic and professional manner. Thanks are also extended to the wider family circle and friends for the love and support they’ve shown over many years.