Barbara Quaile OBE (Barbara Renton); born March 28, 1906, died February 15, 1999

IDA Barbara Helen Renton was the second child of David Renton, an Edinburgh solicitor, and Ida Sandeman. Born and brought up in Edinburgh, she was educated at St Trinneans School for Girls. When another school with a similar name was made famous by a well-known cartoonist, she derived much quiet amusement from declaring that she had been Head Girl at the ''real'' one!

Having opted for nursing as a career, she trained for four years at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and was admitted to the College of Nursing in London (later the Royal College) in 1932. During those early years, she also found time to act as Guider with the St George's School Guides (20th Edinburgh Company). She went on to study midwifery, then nurse administration and training.

A great believer in continuing in-work education, she obtained a Diploma in Nursing from London University in 1936, and in 1939 passed the midwife teachers' exam of the Central Midwives' Board for Scotland. In 1946 the General Nursing Council for Scotland registered her as a sister tutor.

In 1940, Miss Renton went to Bangour Hospital, where prisoners of war were under her care. At the time, she was the youngest matron to have been appointed in a Scottish hospital. In 1946, she went to the Victoria Infirmary in Glasgow. She became president of the Association of Scottish Hospital Matrons, and in that capacity was invited to Westminster Abbey to represent Scottish nurses at the Coronation.

Miss Renton left the Victoria to become Lady Superintendent of Nurses at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, and was awarded the OBE in 1958 for services to nursing.

Always a strict disciplinarian, she set the highest standards for herself and for those under her charge. Underneath this stern exterior, however, was humour and a great understanding of and sympathy with people from all walks of life. This earned her the respect (and in many cases the abiding friendship) of all those with whom she came into contact, be they patients or staff.

In April 1959, Miss Renton retired from the Edinburgh Royal to marry Kenneth Quaile, a Glasgow stockbroker, a marriage that lasted until his death in 1975.

The fact that she was no longer nursing gave the new Mrs Quaile time to devote to other public service. She became a member of the Western Region Hospitals Board. She took a great interest in the setting up of the Marie Curie Centre at Hunters Hill, chairing the house committee. She was divisional president of Bearsden Red Cross from 1961 to 1968. Her interest in youth training led to her becoming chairman of the Board of Governors of Queens College, (the West of Scotland College of Domestic Science) from 1968 to 1971. She was also a director of Balmano Homes. To each of these offices she brought the energy, skill and experience that had characterised her earlier career. It was a matter of regret to her when increasing deafness finally forced her to give up committee work long after normal retiral age.

Always a deeply religious woman, Mrs Quaile took a great interest in her local church, which latterly was All Saints in Bearsden. She was for many years a member of Queen Mary's Clothing Guild. Fond of music, she was an enthusiastic member of the Milngavie Music Club. She was an avid reader, mostly of biographies, and enjoyed sketching as a form of relaxation. In spite of all this, she still found time to enjoy family life and regular contact with all her nephews, nieces, and step-children, through three generations, right up to the end of her life.