Born: April 10, 1915; Died: May 12, 2012.
JACK Blair, who has died aged 97, was the last head-office manager of the Trustee Savings Bank in Glasgow.
Born in Carnoustie to John and Elizabeth Blair, his father was a tramway motorman and a private in the 1st Glasgow Battalion Highland Light Infantry.
In his youth Jack Blair played football, golf, and tennis, the latter as a member of the Cartha Athletic Club, Glasgow.
He joined the Savings Bank of Glasgow in March 1931, rising from a clerk to become the last head-office manager of the Trustee Savings Bank from 1971-75, at 177 Ingram Street. He was the first chief clerk to the secretary of the West of Scotland Trustee Savings Bank from 1975 to 1976, retiring in October 1976.
The Savings Bank of Glasgow was the largest savings bank in the UK for more than 100 years and the largest in Scotland when it merged with its neighbours to form the West of Scotland Trustee Savings Bank, which in its turn was the largest of the four regional trustee savings banks. Former staff still say how much they admired Mr Blair's administrative and interpersonal qualities.
His war service was memorable but he did not discuss it, other than claiming he was in the same class as Dirk Bogarde (later Sir, of acting fame) and passed his officer exams before him.
Not surprising, then, that with his good looks, his colleagues called him the Scottish Cary Grant. He had risen to become captain of an anti-aircraft unit and was stationed in Bad Driburg in the north Rhine area of Germany in 1945.
He was decorated, receiving the Star (Battle of Britain), the France and Germany Star, the Defence Medal, and the War Medal. After the war, he was part of the 68 AA Brigade, Glasgow, in the 554 LAA Regiment Royal Artillery, then called the Territorial Army.
He married Doreen Beveridge in 1949 and they celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in 1999. They had no family. He and Doreen were fanatical about bridge, both being members of St Andrews Bridge Club in Glasgow.
They won many tournaments, including several at bridge events across Europe.
The couple were competitive bowlers, too. At Ralston Bowling Club they won many competitions together, individually, or with others, for example, in 1988 when Jack won the Habbie Rose Bowl Cup with three colleagues.
Doreen passed away in 2002 and Mr Blair coped very well on his own, but failing health saw a spell in hospital, followed by a move to a nursing home in 2006, where the staff loved him.
With his passing goes another piece of Scottish banking history; but more than that, a gentleman and a much-loved uncle.
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