John Morgan

8th December 2006 at 00:00
After a life of service to his community, John Morgan died on October 28, aged 87. Born in a two-roomed tenement flat in Clydebank to John Henry and Mary Ann Morgan, he was the third of seven children.

John attended St Patrick's High School for Boys in Dumbarton where he was an exemplary pupil with a keen intellect and achieved, it is believed, six Highers at the age of 15. The family purse was insufficient to enable further education.

As a young adult, he trained as an engineer and worked for Barr and Stroud, developing optical instruments with military applications as a contribution to the Second World War effort. At the end of the war, he took the opportunity to continue his education at Jordanhill College, graduating as a teacher in 1948.

He elected to teach primary school children, and his career included Our Holy Redeemer's, Clydebank; St Joseph's, Faifley; moving on to become a deputy headmaster in Cumbernauld and, finally, rising to the position of headmaster at St Peter's School, Bellsmyre, Dumbarton.

As well as a lifetime of teaching, John was a man of the people, always willing to put time and effort into supporting others. His home was a port of call for those requiring help or guidance. As a child, his family home had been obliterated by an incendiary bomb during air raids and, though his parents and siblings survived, he was appalled by war.

Such was its effect on him that he became a lifelong peace activist, joining the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and Pax Christi, and becoming part of an international body of peacemakers. He was involved in peace campaigns, joining the women at Greenham Common as well as supporting the Faslane peace camp and going on many CND marches.

On the 50th anniversary of Hiroshima, a group of Buddhist monks walked from Japan to Scotland to highlight the horror of nuclear war. John met them and made them welcome in his home. This relationship continued and he had regular contact with and visits to the Nipponsan Myohoji Peace Pagoda at Milton Keynes. The monks and nuns regarded him as one of the community.

A devout Roman Catholic, he respected all religions. Such was his esteem in Clydebank that the provost hosted a civic reception for him on his 80th birthday.

John was also a keen fly-fisherman and in his youth played football for Maryhill Juniors and Dumbarton, and for Clydebank in the very first Scottish fixture after the Second World War. It is understood he was capped for Scotland in an under-21s game at Hampden Park, scoring two goals, but the Scottish strip and cap were lost to the bombs of the Luftwaffe.

He met and married Marion Smith Hazeldean. Their marriage spanned almost 60 years and five children were born. They, in turn, produced 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. He was an inspiration to his children, a loving but strict disciplinarian, encouraging all of them to go on to higher education and to professional lives.

The way he lived his life - kind, charitable, totally moral and completely unmaterialistic - was exemplary. He touched the lives of many.

After a period of suffering from Alzheimer's disease, he died from a heart attack at Canniesburn Care Home.

The TESS invites obituaries and appreciations from contributors, or suggestions for obituaries. Please email, or write to TESS, 10 South St Andrew Street, Edinburgh EH2 ZAZ.

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