Teacher ;

Born April 8, 1934; Died December 10, 2011

Marette Grewar, who has died aged 77, was a teacher and natural history lover whose voluntary work helped to map out Bute's rural heritage.

As part of the Buteshire Natural Heritage Society and the Discover Bute Landscape Partnership Scheme she also worked to preserve the island's diverse environment and introduce others to its myriad attractions.

It was all a world away from her roots in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, where she was born in the town of Erode where her father worked as a structural engineer.

She spent her early years there until, at the age of five, her father's work and military service took the family to a variety of locations in the west of Scotland. By the time she was 11 she had attended five different schools. Her education also included a year at a Lanarkshire boarding school.

At Glasgow University she studied English, French and German and forged lifelong friendships with, amongst others, Nan Pattie, secretary of the Queen Margaret Union, which she became involved with, excelling as a prize-wining debater. She was also a contemporary of the group of Glasgow University students, including fellow debater Ian Hamilton QC, who snatched the Stone of Destiny from Westminster Abbey at Christmas 1950.

Having decided to become a teacher she went on to Glasgow's Jordanhill College of Education but her career plan suffered a setback after the death of her adored father. She was only 19 and on her year's teaching practice when he died. He had been the greatest influence in her life and she was deeply affected by his death, a loss compounded by the fact that her mother insisted she leave college and find work to help with household expenses.

Fortunately she found a job she enjoyed, with the engineering firm Armco, which supplied goods including motorway crash barriers, and was responsible for running its office.

In her personal life she enjoyed a whirlwind romance with her cousin Cargill Grewar. They were engaged within three weeks of becoming a couple and married in 1959. They spent two years in Montreal, Canada, where she would have been happy to stay, had her husband not contracted scarlet fever, prompting a return to Scotland.

Back in the UK she was eventually able to return to teaching, having had 10 years away from the profession andhaving raised three sons. A close-knit unit, each summer she and the boys would spend a month living simply in a remote Highland cottage with no television and sometimes no electricity. Cargill would join them for a couple of weeks and they would spend their days outside making their own entertainment, the nights playing games by the light of a hurricane lamp.

Early in her career she taught at Uddingston Grammar School and Loudon Academy before moving to Hutchesons' Boys' Grammar, which all three of her sons attended, in 1977. She arrived as the first of her sons left and she remained there until retiring. Her reputation as a teacher, wherever she taught, was formidable – with all her pupils, however reluctantly, acknowledging that she was fully committed to their development and growth and to encouraging them to broaden their horizons

A lifelong member of the Liberal Party, she was also a supporter of Glasgow's Tron and Citizens Theatres and had been a marker and then examiner for O Grade and Higher exams.

By 1994 both she and her husband had retired and were looking forward to sharing more time together. Tragically, he died that December and during the subsequent year Mrs Grewar found some comfort in returning to work, this time as a market researcher.

A few years later she decided to move to Kilchattan Bay, Bute where her friend Nan Pattie lived and of which she had fond memories from family holidays. She became involved in the local community joining the Women's Institute, the bowling club, delivering meals on wheels and coaching pupils for exams.

She also joined the Buteshire Natural History Society (BNHS) where she became an essential part of its work on Scotland's Rural Past project for the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. She had volunteered to help co-ordinate the work of numerous members involved in researching and recording the island's deserted rural settlements for the five-year project.

Along with colleague Isabell McArthur, Mrs Grewar represented the BNHS at conferences around Scotland for the Rural Historic Settlement Group. She also helped organise the Group's annual conference, which was held on Bute in 2007, and attended the Scotland's Rural Past (SRP) final conference last June in Dunkeld where a paper was delivered on their work.

With the Discover Bute Landscape Partnership, which saw the island awarded a lottery grant of almost £2million, she continued her commitment to conserving and preserving the unique Bute landscape. She also enjoyed spending time with her six grandchildren but was equally happy with her own company, devouring books and maintaining a keen interest in politics.

Described as compassionate, clever and determined, she was also a modest woman who achieved a great deal more in her life than she was ever willing to acknowledge, something perhaps most fittingly illustrated by the number of tributes made by so many of her former pupils.

She is survived by her sons Guy, Don and John.