Obituary

20th February 2009 at 00:00

Jack H Galbraith, a former deputy rector of Dollar Academy, has died, aged 82.

When the school required a new deputy in 1980, the then rector, Ian Hendry, had no need to look far. He had the perfect replacement to hand: Jack Galbraith, at the time principal teacher of business studies and housemaster of one of the boys' boarding houses, a man liked and respected by all.

Brought up in Hamilton and educated at Hamilton Academy, the Scottish School of Commerce, and Jordanhill College, Jack Galbraith had taught for 10 years in Glasgow schools, latterly at the former Rutherglen Academy, before moving to Dollar in 1961 as principal teacher of guidance and head of what was then the commercial department.

He was to remain at Dollar for the rest of his career. Under him, the business studies department flourished and grew. Former pupils testify to the enjoyment they had under his tuition and his former colleagues to the delight and satisfaction they found under his direction.

In 1975, he and his wife, Ellen, were given charge of the 40 boys in Parkfield, later Playfair House, where he was noted for having time for everyone. Appointed deputy rector, he took on whole-school responsibilities while retaining the boarding house and some teaching in his former department. These responsibilities he revelled in, especially his work with senior pupils, with prefects and with parents.

Pupils, and sometimes parents, were left in no doubt of the standards of conduct he required. Though very popular, he was too honest a man ever to court popularity. In fact, he never shied away from problems, or from potential conflict. When necessary, he expressed his views robustly, in meetings and with individuals. Yet he had that precious gift of being able to criticise constructively without giving offence.

For all colleagues, his door was ever open and the welcome warm. New members of staff he helped, advised and supported and few left his room without feeling more confident about themselves. A man of excellent organisational and administrative skills, Jack was, for the two rectors he worked with, a model of discretion and loyalty. He was what politicians would call "a safe pair of hands".

Someone once wrote - justifiably - of his "unassuming professionalism", for, despite all his administrative skills and his teaching abilities, despite all the admiration and the love and respect which he earned, Jack remained an essentially modest man. Gracious, generous and courageous, he had a sense of service and a humanity which made him such a fine schools man. Dollar Academy was fortunate to have him for so long.

He leaves his wife, two sons, Colin and Ewan, and four grandchildren.

Lloyd Harrison, rector of Dollar Academy 1984-1994.

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