Marette Grewar

A teacher with a formidable reputation who loved natural history and rural Scotland

Alison Shaw

Marette Grewar, who has died aged 77, was a teacher and natural history lover whose voluntary work helped to map out Bute's rural heritage.

The island was a world away from her roots in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu where she was born in the town of Erode and where her father worked as a structural engineer.

She spent her early years there until, at the age of five, her father's work and military service took the family to a variety of locations in the west of Scotland.

At the University of Glasgow she studied English, French and German and forged lifelong friendships with, among others, Nan Pattie, secretary of the Queen Margaret Union, where she also excelled as a prize-wining debater.

Having decided to become a teacher, she went on to Glasgow's Jordanhill College of Education, but when she was only 19 and on her year's teaching practice her father died. Her mother insisted she leave college and find work to help with household expenses.

In 1959, she married her cousin, Cargill Grewar, and they moved to Canada for two years.

Back in the UK, she was eventually able to return to teaching, having had 10 years away from the profession and raised three sons. She taught at Uddingston Grammar and Loudoun Academy before moving in 1977 to Hutchesons' Boys' Grammar, remaining there until retiring. Her reputation as a teacher was formidable - with pupils, however reluctantly, acknowledging she was fully committed to their development and growth and to encouraging them to broaden their horizons.

A lifelong member of the Liberal Party, she was also a supporter of Glasgow's Tron and Citizens Theatres and had been a marker and then examiner for O grade and Higher exams.

By 1994, both she and Cargill had retired and were looking forward to sharing more time together, but he died that December.

A few years later she decided to move to Kilchattan Bay, Bute, where her friend Nan Pattie lived. She joined the Buteshire Natural History Society (BNHS) where she became an essential part of its work on Scotland's Rural Past project for the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland.

Along with Isabell McArthur, Mrs Grewar represented the BNHS at conferences around Scotland for the Rural Historic Settlement Group, including that of Scotland's Rural Past last June in Dunkeld where a paper was delivered on their work. With the Discover Bute Landscape Partnership, she continued her commitment to conserving and preserving the unique Bute landscape.

Compassionate, clever and determined, she was also a modest woman who achieved a great deal more in her life than she was ever willing to acknowledge.

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Alison Shaw

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