Obituary

2nd October 2009 at 01:00

Margaret Devine, who has died aged 90, was a teacher of art from 1942 until 1981, almost without a break.

She was born in Paisley in 1919, the youngest child of Bernard and Catherine Coll, and the only one in her family to benefit from a higher education.

Having seen her two sisters forced to leave school in order to work and her beloved brother Dan having to emigrate to America at the age of 18 in order to find work, Margaret embraced her opportunity for learning with open arms.

She never lost this love of learning and sought to impart the value of education to pupils throughout her teaching career.

After graduating from the Glasgow School of Art in 1941 with a degree in drawing and painting, her first teaching post was in St Bonaventure's in the Gorbals. She remained a teacher there throughout the war and experienced the trauma of evacuation as well as harvest camps and the compulsory firewatch duty.

She met her husband David while they were both students at the School of Art, and they married in 1952 once he had returned from war service and completed his degree. His first teaching post was in St Gerard's Secondary in Govan, and he went on to become principal teacher of art in St Pius' Secondary in Drumchapel then Bellarmine Secondary in Pollok.

Margaret and David had four children within five years, a feat all the more remarkable for the fact that she returned to teaching while two of her children were still under school age. The headteacher of St. Margaret's Convent School in Paisley, Mother Mary Patrick, had offered her a post at a time when married women were not expected to work: Margaret again embraced this opportunity and found herself one of only two married woman on the staff. She was both an art and guidance teacher and remained at St Margaret's until she retired at the age of 62.

She was never idle even after that. Her time was divided between painting, reading, playing bridge and carrying out her Eucharistic ministry until the age of 80. She undertook painting courses and went on painting holidays, always seeking to enhance and develop her skills. Her life was a reflection of her faith and learning, and her family are testimony to her belief in the value of education.

Margaret's unfailing energy was laterally applied to the care of her husband until his death in 2004, aged 86. She died surrounded by her family and is survived by her children Anne, Margaret, Cate and David.

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