German scholar, former deputy principal and emeritus professor at Stirling University;
Born: March 2, 1932; Died February 10, 2013.
Professor James Trainer, who has died aged 80, was an eminent scholar of the German language and its literature. He gained an international reputation for his lecturing and was a highly respected member of the staff of Stirling University for 30 years as professor of German.
Such was his reputation, Prof Trainer served as a visiting professor at Yale and California universities, but it was his absolute conviction in the greatness of German art, music and literature – especially the Romantic period of the 19th century – that marked him out as an exceptional scholar. The unstable political situation of the post-war years and the division of the country, let alone his beloved Berlin, never changed his belief in the country and its people.
He was born in Dublin, the son of officers in the Salvation Army. During their posting to Dundee, he attended Morgan Academy and then read languages at St Andrews.
He continued his studies at the Free University of Berlin where he met his wife Barbara, the daughter of the headmaster where he had a teaching post. In 1961 he witnessed the Berlin Wall going up.
He served for 10 years at St Andrews University from 1958 and joined the staff of Stirling University when it was created around the picturesque Airthrey Loch in 1967.
He expanded the department, building up an enviable reputation for his teaching, and carried out much diligent research – especially transcribing 19th-century manuscripts.
He served under three vice chancellors and proved a steadying influence as the university experienced some difficult years, contending with financial cuts and a fall in student numbers. He was active on many academic committees in Scotland, notably The Scottish Examination Board, the National Library of Scotland and Morrison's Academy in Crieff.
In more than 30 years service to Stirling he was employed in a range of roles, including deputy principal, a post to which he was appointed in 1975. He retired and received his emeritus professor status in 1997.
His wife died in 1984. He is survived by their two sons and a daughter.
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