Born: September 25, 1941; Died: October 3, 2012.
Sam Harper, who has died aged 71, was a former soldier and plant fitter who helped steer Glasgow Housing Association through Britain's biggest housing stock transfer.
As chairman of the non-for-profit landlord, which he was instrumental in establishing, he oversaw the switch of control of 85,000 homes from Glasgow City Council to the fledgling organisation.
A lifelong tenant himself, with a passionate interest in housing issues and the ability to make his voice heard, he had the credentials and enthusiasm required to navigate the complicated operation.
The move allowed the council's £900 million housing debt to be written off and gave the new GHA access to private finance to fund its £1.2 billion investment programme, the biggest modernisation project of its kind in Europe. Just months after the transfer his unstinting work was rewarded with an OBE for services to housing.
Brought up in Glasgow's Finnieston, he went to St Patrick's Primary and St Mungo's Academy where his contemporaries included former Glasgow Lord Provost Alex Mosson – and a young woman who was to become Mrs Sadie Harper.
On leaving school he started work as a painter and decorator but by the time he was 19 had joined the army and married his schoolgirl sweetheart. A lance corporal with the Royal Scots Greys, he and his new wife travelled to Malaya, Singapore and Bahrain but spent much of his 12 years' service in Germany.
He left the army in 1972 and they returned home to Glasgow where, for the rest of his working life, he was a plant fitter for Gordon Anderson Plant Hire.
He retired through illness, following an accident to his hand, at 57. Until then the couple had lived at Balornock but in retirement they moved back to Anderston where his interest in housing issues intensified.
His involvement in the Blythswood Court Tenants Association was the catalyst for his work with the Glasgow Housing Association. His first tenancy had been as a teenager in Holm Street but now he devoted more and more of his time to supporting and representing other tenants.
He was appointed chair of the GHA board in January 2002, the year before the stock transfer took place, and remained in office until December 2003. Announcing he would be stepping down, he said he had done the job he set out to do, and had given as much as he could. After three successful years, it was a good time to bow out.
Praised for his leadership and fierce loyalty to Glasgow's tenants, he was awarded an OBE in the following New Year's Honours list. Although no longer chairman he stayed on as a board member until September 2004.
GHA chairman Gordon Sloan said: "Sam was a tireless campaigner on housing issues and on behalf of everyone at GHA I would like to pay tribute to his hard work and commitment during his time as chair."
Latterly Mr Harper was involved with Glasgow West Housing Association and Glasgow City Councillor, Philip Braat, who represents Anderston, described him as "a warm, generous and formidable man who was a great asset to his community and a very good friend.
"He was never shy of speaking his mind, particularly when it would benefit tenants and communities at large. His selfless dedication and energy to the countless causes he championed are a great legacy."
Aside from campaigning, Mr Harper's other great interest in life was his family and the grandchildren he adored.
He is survived by his wife Sadie, children Frances, Samuel, Susan and Kevin, six grandchildren and a great grandchild.
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