Building contractor

Building contractor

Born: December 31, 1928; Died: May 12, 2014

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Matt Dickie, who has died aged 85, was a well respected building contractor who, with his brother, ran the family's building business John Dickie & Son. The company won many prestigious contracts including the refurbishment of the Bank of Scotland's Glasgow headquarters.

He was born on Hogmanay in 1928 to John and Pearl Dickie and grew up in Muirend, Glasgow, in a house built by his grandfather. The eldest of three siblings, he was the elder brother to Alex and Marjea. He attended Netherlee Primary School and then The High School, of Glasgow, leaving in June 1946. He excelled academically and also at golf and rugby.

His working life began shortly afterwards at George C Russell, chartered quantity surveyors in Glasgow, where he was taken on as an apprentice quantity surveyor. After gaining his qualification he also lectured part-time at The Tech, now Strathclyde University. He joined the Glasgow surveying firm of Muirhead, Muir and Webster where he began his lifelong friendship with fellow quantity surveyor Matt Morrison. Matt Dickie was elected a professional associate of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in 1952 and elected as fellow of the RICS in 1981.

Despite a compelling offer to stay, his heart lay with his family's building business John Dickie & Son Limited. The company was established in 1880 by Matt's great-grandfather, John Kennedy Dickie. Matt joined and took over management in 1953, as part of the fourth generation to run the business. He re-established the firm onto a sound and profitable footing and was joined in 1958 by his brother Alex. From this point on, Matt's relationship with Alex was to prove crucial as they developed the family company together. Between them they built and expanded the business with considerable success and in continuous profit, even through the troubled times of the 1970s.

On the commercial side of the business they won many prestigious contracts including building the first two Safeway stores in Scotland and the complete refurbishment of the Bank of Scotland's Glasgow headquarters, just two examples of the many projects undertaken. The housing side was equally successful with housing developments regularly selling out off the plans. The houses that generations of the Dickie family firm built still prove to be popular family homes today. These houses stand as lasting proof of their commitment to their trade with a reputation for quality. Matt worked there for over 40 years until he retired in 1994 and was president of the Glasgow branch of the Scottish Building Contractors Association in 1983.

The brothers rarely exchanged cross words and those few were a result of navigational differences of opinion as they sailed their yacht Nordiska. In family and business life they were a great team and that legacy has set the template for Matt's nephews John and William Dickie as they continue the family tradition in the present day with their own building company Dickie and Moore Limited.

Fittingly, in line with his lifelong love of golf, Matt met his future bride Nan Dalziel at East Renfrewshire GC. Matt and Nan married on October 2, 1957. They went on to have two daughters; Margaret and Jane, and to enjoy more than 56 years of married life together.

He had many interests, all of which he pursued with dedication and attention to detail. Together with Nan he enjoyed gardening at their family home.

He was a member of many clubs including Newlands Bowling Club, Glasgow Indoor Bowling Club, the Queen Anne Golfing Society and Lubnaig Curling Club.

He was a keen fisherman who enjoyed salmon fishing on the River Tay and other rivers. He was also a member of The Brother Loch Angling Club where he enjoyed trout fishing and the camaraderie around the table at lunch. His grandchildren also had the opportunity to be with their papa to enjoy some memorable days at the loch.

He had a keen enjoyment of art, no doubt inherited from his grandfather John K Dickie. He attended an oil painting class for a number of years at the Glasgow School of Art with his friend and neighbour Professor Henry Wilson. They also learned about geology as members of the Geological Society of Glasgow and their families enjoyed travelling and many walking and boating holidays together.

Of course, next to Nan, one of his greatest loves was golf. He played the game right up until recent weeks. A member of many different clubs, he started his golfing life at The Williamwood Golf Club. He first joined as a junior and played with his brother and friends before and after school, later going on to be club champion in 1959.

With his Uncle Alex Watt he won the Foresomes competition at East Renfrewshire GC in 1956. He joined Western Gailes GC in 1956, was club champion in 1975 and a member of Elie GC. He joined Pollok GC in 1961 and was captain in 1977-78. He was also a member of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews which he joined in 1972, continuing an enduring family association with the town and golf.

He was proud of his brother's golfing achievements and was with him at a dinner in the R & A clubhouse after Alex had proved victorious in a final over a well known Scottish actor (licensed to kill). To this actor's initial bemusement, later exasperation, Matt was the person at the dinner table who was consulted by the waiting staff about wine choices for the table. This was a step too far for 007 who was heard to say: "That's it I've had enough of you Dickies today, what's going on here?" Matt modestly replied: "Don't worry yourself, it's just that we are better at golf and more handsome."

He is survived by wife Nan, sister Marjea, daughters Margaret and Jane, his grandchildren Nicola, Douglas, Valerie (Potts), Shona, Ewan, Michael, Anna, Isla (Lockhart), a great grandson Luke Barker, eight nephews and one niece.