Couple Served Ireland and East Africa in Most Positive of Ways

The News Letter (Belfast, Northern Ireland), June 8, 2017 | Go to article overview

Couple Served Ireland and East Africa in Most Positive of Ways


A funeral service will take place this afternoon (Thursday) in Drumcree Parish Church for Portadown couple Michael and Marjorie Cawdery.

The husband and wife, both 83, were found murdered in their Upper Ramone Park home on May 26.

They served East Africa and Ireland (north and south) in the most positive of ways.

Michael's distinguished career focused on veterinary pathology, while his wife started her career as a highly-respected secretary.

In their later years, they were directors of their own company, Cawnel Limited, which serviced many veterinary pharmaceutical companies seeking licences for their products. Michael also became a patient reviewer, a recent initiative by the prestigious British Medical Journal, aimed at improving the relevance and of its research for patients.

Mr Cawdery was an international figure in the field of veterinary pathology, and his wife was the archetypical 'woman behind the man'. Their murders a fortnight ago at their Upper Ramone Park home have been viewed, in Portadown and beyond, as a purposeless and savage act.

Both were 83, and far from retiring from active life, their company was their way of easing into their advancing years -- still contributing to society, but doing so on their own terms and at their own pace.

They were both born in 1933, Michael in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, and Marjorie in Dublin. He was sent to Ireland when 14 to be educated at Portora Royal School, Enniskillen, and then to Trinity College, Dublin where he gained a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science (Vet) Degrees.

These were followed by degrees and further qualifications from the London School of Tropical Medicine, the University of Wurzburg (Germany), the University of Florida (Fellowship) and the Open University (BA Hons in Maths).

He was also awarded a United Nations Fellowship under the International Atomic Energy Agency to study the uses of radioisotopes in veterinary research. And later, settled in Ireland, he was honoured in 2011 by President Mary McAleese, along with other distinguished Irish veterinary figures in recognition of having qualified in Veterinary Medicine for over 50 years.

The first 10 years of his career were spent in Uganda in various high-level roles, culminating as the Senior Veterinary Pathologist in the Department of Veterinary Services. One of his research subjects was trypanosomiasis, or sleeping sickness, which is carried by the Tsetse fly and affects both domestic animals and humans. This involved travel to other East African countries, but it was in the Ugandan city of Entebbe, famed for the 1976 airport raid, that he met his future wife.

Marjorie was educated in Dublin's Wesley College, one of the few female students there at a time when co-education was unusual in Ireland. …

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