Harry McKibbin died on 3rd September 2001 aged 86, deeply mourned by all
who knew him. He had enjoyed a long, varied and fulfilling life. Harry
was educated at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution, where he
learned his rugby, playing for four years on its 1st XV, captaining it
in the Schools' Cup winning year of 1934, in which year he was head boy
of the School. He proceeded to Queen's University where he graduated LLB
in 1938 and then became apprenticed to the late John A Adrain. His
apprenticeship was interrupted by the outbreak of World War II; he
joined the 8th Belfast Regiment of the Royal Artillery, served in France
with the British Expeditionary Force, was evacuated from Dunkirk, served
in Burma and was promoted a Major. On demobilisation he completed his
apprenticeship with Mr. Adrain in 1947 and in 1948 he became a partner
in the long-established firm of S & R Crymble, with which he
remained a partner until its dissolution in 1980, when he and Harry
Junior (now a Resident Magistrate) practiced together until 1998 when
failing health forced retirement.
Harry was a deeply religious man
who throughout his professional life practiced his beliefs and was
highly esteemed by his peers and his clients for his integrity,
knowledge and the assiduous manner in which he conducted his practice.
Harry was internationally known for his magnificent services to the game
of rugby, first as a player and later as a respected administrator. On
leaving school, he played as a centre for Queen's University, making his
debut for Ireland in 1938, when on the strength of one cap against
Wales, he was selected for the British Lions' tour of South Africa
captained by the late Sammy Walker.
He played in all three test matches of that tour (being by many astute
observers deemed the finest of the British players) and for Ireland
three Home Internationals in 1939, by which time his reputation as a
magnificent centre was firmly established and but for the War, he would
certainly have won many more caps. On demobilisation he played for
Instonians until retiring from the game.
His administrative services to
rugby were legion - President of the Queen's University Rugby Club, and
Irish Selector for 3 years, the Irish representative on the
International Board for 20 years, President of the Ulster Branch in
1962/63 and President of the Irish Rugby Football Union in its centenary
year, 1974/75. All these legendary services to the game were happily -
and justly - recognised when in 1975 Her Majesty the Queen awarded him
the honour of a CBE.
Above all, Harry was a dedicated
family man and the sympathy of all who knew him is extended to his
devoted wife Sheila, his children Harry, Deborah, Roger and Alastair and
his 11 grandchildren.
T Q King