Born: June 25, 1929; Died: June 17, 2012.
John Armour, who has died aged 82, was a Glasgow-born education administrator who made his name in Africa and Canada.
As an altar boy he assisted at daily mass, and at the age of 16, decided to test his vocation for the priesthood. The subsequent five years in seminary contributed to his education and spiritual development, but not to an eventual call to the priesthood. He returned to Glasgow and qualified as a certified accountant in 1957 at the age of 28.
Mr Armour volunteered to serve the church as a layperson in Africa. In 1959 he was posted to Lesotho (at that time known as Basutoland). Serving in a small Catholic College for students banned from higher education in South Africa because of their colour, he also worked with the uneducated Basuto population. During his years in Lesotho he was a founding member of a university created to serve Lesotho, Botswana and Swaziland. In his last year in Lesotho he was active in preparing the local chiefs and functionaries for self-government.
He returned to Glasgow to marry Maureen in 1960, returning to Lesotho, where his children Mary, Joseph and Bernie were born. They left Lesotho in late 1966 and settled in Montreal, Canada. Mr Armour's first appointment was at McGill University as director of internal audit. He remained at McGill until his retirement in 1995; his final position was vice-principal of administration and finance. Mr Armour steered the university's finances through challenging times and succeeded in seeing its debt significantly lowered before he retired in 1995, when he received honorary membership for distinguished service from the Canadian Association of University Business Officers.
Beyond his work at McGill, he ministered for years to drug addicts at a rehabilitation centre, and to the dying in the Palliative Care Service of the Royal Victoria Hospital. He was also very active at St Luke's Parish in Dollard-des-Ormeaux, contributing to retreats and spiritual development programmes and serving as a eucharistic minister.
To his close and extended family, Mr Armour always had time to listen and brought a smile with his dry humour. He frequently returned to Glasgow to visit family and retained his enthusiasm for Celtic FC. He is survived by his wife and children, five grandchildren, and two sisters, Mary Houston and Margaret Hughes.
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