Mary Morrison, teacher; born March 3, 1911, died

July 29, 1998

Mary Morrison (nee Macrae) was born near Broadford on the Isle of Skye, remarkably in that her father was in his 70th year and could recall being evicted as a boy during the period of intense clearance in the Hebrides which took place during the Great Highland Famine of the 1840s and early 1850s. This fact was influential in forming some of her strongly held beliefs and views which she promoted forcefully throughout much of her 87 years.

Educated at Broadford and later in Portree Secondary School, she qualified for Glasgow University a year earlier than her age would permit her to enter. She completed her MA at Glasgow and teacher training at Jordanhill College before moving to Mull to teach at Mornish Primary School. Her patience and understanding in her chosen profession made her an exemplary teacher of small children, perhaps in contrast with her ways of dealing with the adult world - she did not suffer fools gladly - and we have it on good authority that education department officials trembled at having to confront Mary Morrison.

She taught in Mornish for more than 40 years, married Colin Morrison, raised a family and took an active interest in the community which she had adopted. She served on the Council of Social Service for many years and served as secretary on the Mull provincial Mod Committee for 12 years. Renowned for her knowledge of Gaelic culture, she had a vast memory and love of the songs with which she grew

up. She wrote, produced, directed played for local, county and national Mod drama festivals with both children and adults.

After retirement from teaching in 1975 she continued to promote and teach Gaelic to those who showed an interest, from her own small (then!) grandchildren to a full scale adult evening class for 15 pupils.

Conscious of Mary's unique connection with the Highland past, the media were always keen to interview her. She was also much respected by leading historians of Gaeldom in the Sottish universities. At a conference on nineteenth-century Highland history organised by the Research Centre for Scottish History at the University of Strathclyde in 1996, Mary Morrison, then aged 85, held an audience of more than 200 in the palm of her hand

as she graphically recounted

her father's memories of forced removal in Skye nearly 150 years ago. Everyone in the lecture theatre that day felt a living connection with the events of the Clearances of the nineteenth century.

''Granny Huttie'', as she was known in her latter years, was the one to visit for advice when there was a problem, guidance in a dilemma, words of wisdom when required, whether 16 or 60, you would be heard out and given the benefit of her long experience.

Renowned for her true Highland hospitality, she was possibly one of the few who could host a real ceilidh.

It is an indication of her deep involvement and interest in the young, and particularly her own next of kin, that the tragic and senseless death of her grandson, Iain James, last Christmas was an event from which she did not truly recover. In the end, her passing was painless, peaceful, and mercifully quick. Her family and many friends will be secure in the knowledge that her long life was well filled from beginning to end and that wherever she is, she is probably giving orders! Bith sinn gad chuimhneachadh gu brath.

Mary is survived by her son, Iain, daughter, Eilidh, and six grandchildren.