Born: November 22 ,1922; Died: May 17, 2012.
MARION Sharpe, who has died aged 89, was a wonderful teacher known to three generations of Cumnock Academy pupils as Wee Maisie Bryan.
Barely five feet tall in her high heels, she could control an otherwise rowdy class of future miners and factory girls with one look from her piercing eyes. No pupil messed with Maisie: she was a formidable disciplinarian. But, more than that, she was inspiring.
Born in Sanquhar, eldest child of George and Minnie Bryan, she accompanied her parents to Detroit at an early age. In the US, this little Scottish chatterbox fell foul of one teacher, who Scotch-taped her mouth closed because of her incessant talking in class. Later, as a teacher herself, she had no need of artificial assistance in maintaining order.
The Great Depression brought the Bryan family – by now twins Bob and Effie had arrived – back to Scotland, to Auchinleck, and from Auchinleck Primary Maisie passed her "qualifying" and went to Cumnock Academy. Her love of English literature was encouraged and she became an outstanding pupil, placing sixth in the Glasgow University bursary competition of 1940.
At the height of the London Blitz, she travelled to the capital to sit for and win the scholarship which enabled her to study English at Glasgow University. She emerged with an MA Honours, adding a B Ed degree. On completing her teacher training at Jordanhill College, she returned to Cumnock Academy, where whe would spend her teaching career.
In 1962, Maisie became Lady Advisor at the school. In effect, she was in charge of the female pupils. It was a post to which she brought understanding and inspiration. She wasn't happy about the shortness of some skirts – but made every effort to offset this by broadening young minds.
In 1972, she amazed all who knew her by falling in love with and marrying David Sharpe, a chartered surveyor and no mean violinist from Glasgow. They settled in Coylton and their shared love of music and travel made for a happy union until David died in 1991.
The massive respect she had gathered over her long association with Cumnock Academy was shown by the excellent turn-out of former colleagues and pupils at her funeral service at Masonhill Crematorium.
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