Obituary

12th March 2010 at 00:00

Don Morrison, a former principal of Reid Kerr College in Paisley, one of Scotland s largest further education colleges, has died aged 67 from a chest infection after suffering indifferent health for some years.

Always noted for his sense of humour, he used to joke that he had only missed being an April Fool's Day baby by 10 minutes. He was born at Post Office House, Durness.

His father Willie and his uncle Sandy, for many years headmaster of Halkirk School, Caithness, were noted Scots fiddlers, the former being a close friend of the maestro Hector MacAndrew.

Don Morrison attended Durness Primary, yards from his home, until he left in 1954 for Dornoch Academy and residence at the former Earl's Cross Hostel.

In 1960, he began his training as a business studies teacher at the former Scottish College of Commerce, Glasgow, gaining a first-class Diploma in Commerce three years later, and graduating BA (Hons) from the newly- chartered Strathclyde University the following year.

After studying for a postgraduate teacher's certificate at Jordanhill College, he began his education career as a lecturer at Clydebank Technical College in 1965, moving five years later to James Watt College, Greenock, as head of business studies. He was promoted to vice-principal of that college in 1982, and appointed in 1987 to the top post at Reid Kerr College.

As a young man in Durness, he met Glasgow-born Carole McAusland, who holidayed in the village each year with her parents, and the couple married in 1966. Sadly, Carole died in 1995 after a long battle with cancer, and the following year Mr Morrison retired from the academic world to spend more time with his family.

In his youth, Mr Morrison was a competent athlete and footballer, who played for school and college soccer teams. During his holidays, and in retirement, he spent much of his spare time in his native village, acting for many years as Durness Highland Gathering announcer. This, coupled with other local community activities, led to him being appointed games chieftain in 1993 and later, for many years, president of the games committee.

He was also a keen angler, reader and gardener. The early onset of severe arthritis, coupled with cardiac and renal problems, curtailed his sorties north, although he was able to spend some weeks in the village last summer.

Like his mother, Mr Morrison was a born wit. He was a kind, entertaining man, and excellent social company, especially over a dram. Sadly, illness and medication eventually prevented him from enjoying that particular pleasure.

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