Bob Sutter

Born: April 17, 1939

Died: January 11, 2023

Bob Sutter, who has died aged 83, was a highly-regarded executive in The Herald's editorial team who was appointed by the newspaper in 1979 to boost the title's news gathering operation, a challenge he met with aplomb.

He was born in Airdrie in 1939, the elder of two sons to George and Bessie Sutter. He attended Airdrie Academy and left school to join the civil service in London. He returned to Scotland after a year to join the Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser as a reporter. He was recruited by the Daily Record, rising to become chief reporter then deputy news editor before The Herald came calling.

In 1964 he married Ellen, whom he had met at a dance in Airdrie Pally, and by the time he joined The Herald as associate news editor the couple had two children, Gordon and Lesley.

As news editor, Bob oversaw the title's coverage of major news events, including the Piper Alpha disaster and the Lockerbie bombing. News of the downing of Pan Am Flight 103 in December, 1988 came during the editor's office Christmas party. With calm authority, Bob marshalled his reporters into action and ran the news gathering operation until the presses stopped rolling. He spent so much time on the telephone that he dislocated his elbow.

He was an integral part of the executive team that led The Herald through its 200th anniversary year in 1983. He left his position on the news desk to become assistant editor, overseeing The Herald's business and features coverage and duty editing the newspaper.

Bob was popular with staff, particularly the reporters and specialists who worked directly under him. Reporters who sometimes strayed off the straight and narrow were given a stern dressing down and, perhaps more importantly, a second chance that they were grateful to seize. They were the better for it. Bob had an innate kindness, possessed a keen sense of humour and was a stickler for the journalistic watchwords of accuracy and adherence to facts.

He took early retirement in the 1990s and enjoyed a long and happy retirement with Ellen.

The couple were enthusiastic bowlers and were long-term members of Glenmavis bowling club. Both became club champions but gave up bowling some eight years ago because of Bob's failing eyesight. It had become such a challenge that a club member had to stand beside the jack and wave a white handkerchief so that Bob could fix his bowling aim.

The couple had a static caravan in Cellardyke and regularly returned to the site until shortly before Ellen's death last year, a blow that struck Bob hard.

He is survived by Gordon and Lesley, three grandchildren, a great grandchild and his brother Arthur.

George McKechnie, former Herald editor, said: “Bob Sutter was an exceptional, respected and admired news reporter and news desk executive on the Daily Record before joining The Herald. He was without question one of The Herald's greatest news editors. Bob was also a terrific colleague and friend.”

Barclay McBain