Businessman and publisher
Born: February 7, 1926;
Died: December 9, 2016
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DOUGLAS Foulis, who has died aged 90, was much respected throughout the business community in Edinburgh and involved in many projects in the capital. He managed the family publishing and book-binding business, Hunter & Foulis, and brought a flair, energy and commitment to its stewardship throughout his years in charge.
He was born in Edinburgh, attended Rochester House School and in 1939 went to Loretto where he was in the First XV, the cricket Xl and captain of shooting. He was to form a lasting devotion for the school and served in many capacities on its behalf – not least as a governor for 40 years.
The Reverend Norman Drummond, who took Mr Foulis’s memorial service at Cramond Kirk and was a distinguished former headmaster of Loretto, described Mr Foulis as a rare man in terms of courtesy and manners. He told The Herald: “There was something very special about Douglas – he always remembered people’s names and I loved his pawkey sense of humour. He did much to help Loretto and many other organisations in Scotland. He suited Loretto and Loretto suited him.”
Mr Foulis left school on a Friday in 1944 and volunteered for war service the following Monday. After training he was despatched to India where he was taken seriously ill with mumps and hospitalised in Doolally.
When he was demobbed he joined his father at Hunter & Foulis which held a distinguished position in the thriving printing and publishing business in the capital. The company had sales of £4.8million and was one the oldest surviving bookbinding companies in Edinburgh.
Mr Foulis later served on the boards of TSB Scotland and the TSB Scotland Foundation. The charities with which he was connected included Trefoil House in Hermiston which helps the young disadvantaged, and The Territorial Army. He was a trustee of the YWCA in Scotland, a member of the Royal Company of Archers, The Monks of St Giles as well as serving on the Society of Master Printers of Scotland.
He was also involved in many sporting and charitable organisations in Scotland and had a life-long passion for golf. In 2007 he demonstrated his love of the best traditions of the game and his devotion to Leith when he presented the Foulis Medal to the Leith Rules Golf Society for its annual Open Hickory Competition which is competed for by Leith organisations. It commemorated the creating of the first rules of golf and Mr Foulis annually presented his medal resplendent in his plus fours.
Golf remained a passion throughout his life and he was an enthusiastic member of both The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers and Bruntsfield Links. He had been a member of the former since 1956 and their captain in 1992 - the year that Nick Faldo won the Open at Muirfield. Significantly, aged 90, Mr Foulis supported the admission of women members to the club.
He was escorting Prince Andrew at the 1992 Open and his umbrella collapsed over the Prince’s face. The secret service immediately jumped into action fearing an attack. Mr Foulis sorted the matter out in a jiffy and extricated the Duke from his golf brolly without any fuss.
Mr Foulis was a fervent and proud Scot. He gave of his time and expertise to many organisations in a quiet and undemonstrative manner. He was a loyal and generous friend to many. He enjoyed Edinburgh’s institutions, its traditions and its people.
His first marriage to Jane Thomson was dissolved and his second wife, Yves Walker, whom he married in 2003, survives him along with two daughters and a son from his first marriage.