Local man was youngest person
ever to be awarded OBE at just 34
family of a former Northern Ireland Ombudsman who made
Hillsborough his home several years ago have said the sudden
manner of his passing was `exactly as he would have wanted it'.
Hugh Kernohan (85), who held the position
from 1980 until his retirement in 1987, passed away at the home
of his daughter Barbara.
He had lived in Hillsborough for more than
three years following his decision to move to the village with
his wife Margaret, an Alzheimer's Disease victim.
Margaret survived for just a short time
following the move and succumbed to her illness on December 9
2005 leaving Hugh a widower after more than 57 years of
He remained at his daughter's home and became
well known in the village, joining the Evergreens, the Open
Door, Probus and the Bowling Club at Hillsborough Presbyterian
He was a familiar figure as he power walked
every day and always went to the Village Tea Room for his
mid-day meal where he was popular with staff.
Indeed, it was here he met his granddaughter
Fiona for lunch on the day he passed away.
His son Arnold explained Hugh's grandson
David made him some tea that evening before he showered and
"He then cracked jokes
with David in the kitchen before they walked into the lounge to
watch TV" Arnold continued.
"He sat down in his usual armchair and died
of a massive heart attack. It was a great shock to everyone but
it was exactly as he would have wanted it."
Hugh Kernohan was the youngest ever person to
date awarded the OBE when he received it in 1956 at the age of
His services to industry were recognised in
1978 when he received the CBE following a long career which
began when he served two years of a joinery apprenticeship
working with his father Tom Kernohan.
He also studied bookkeeping and achieved
distinctions in both shorthand and typing before becoming a
Clerk with Harland and Wolffe who recommended him for the
position of Regional Secretary of the Engineering Employers
In 1958 he set up Kernohan's Joinery Works in
Carrickfergus, eventually taking the manufacturing licence for
the Trocal PVC Window System.
The company was responsible for introducing
this type of window to Northern Ireland.
Hugh is survived by his sister Beth, brothers
Watson and George, daughter Barbara and son Arnold.
He also leaves his granddaughter Fiona, son-in-law Colin,
daughter-in-law Shirley, grandsons David, James, Andrew and
Matthew and great granddaughter Ellie.