Teacher who fought to save the paddle steamer Waverley;

Born: April 16, 1949: Died August 13, 2012.

Dr Joseph McKendrick, who has died at the age of 63, was for 35 years a popular teacher at Glasgow's Jordanhill School, where he was addressed and loved by pupils as Dr Joe.

But he was best known, even far beyond these shores, as a driving force behind the survival and success of the Clyde-based PS Waverley, the world's last seagoing paddle steamer. Built to go "doon the watter" from Glasgow to Arrochar on Loch Long, the Waverley now sails the entire British coast and attracts tourists from around the globe. For Dr McKendrick, Jordanhill School and the steamer became the two great loves of his life.

The twin-funnelled Waverley, launched from Pointhouse Quay, Glasgow in 1946, was in danger of being broken up in 1975 when Dr McKendrick joined a like-minded romantic band of enthusiasts, headed by Terry Sylvester and Douglas McGowan, who decided she was a Scottish treasure worth saving.

They were nostalgic for their childhood sails on the steamer, wind in their hair, screaming seagulls astern, the sweet, sooty smell from her red, white and black funnels, the joys of the Scottish landscape all around, and "gaun doon tae see the engines", a phrase that would later be used by many a Glasgow husband as a euphemism for nipping out to the pub.

Backed by a new Scottish branch of the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society (PSPS), Dr McKendrick became a trustee and director of Waverley Steam Navigation (WSN) company and its operational subsidiary Waverley Excursions, now based at Lancefield Quay, Anderston. The Waverley herself has since moved to a new home berth by the Glasgow Science Centre on Pacific Quay. Previously-owned by Caledonian-MacBrayne but losing money, the Waverley was bought in 1974 by the PSPS for a token price of a one pound Clydesdale banknote after a massive public campaign in Scotland to save her.

To survive economically, Dr McKendrick and his fellow enthusiasts realised she had to broaden her horizons just to break even. In 1977, she made her first "foreign" cruise, from Liverpool, and soon after from Llandudno in north Wales, narrowly surviving disaster later that year when she ran aground off Dunoon.

She would later take tourists around the south of England, even to the French coast in 1980 and 1990 to mark the anniversaries of the Dunkirk evacuation. As her fame has spread, she now spends part of the year sailing in areas which have lost their own historic paddle steamers, including the Bristol Channel, the English Channel and the Thames Estuary.

An only child, Joseph McKendrick was born in Larkhall. He attended Glasgow University, graduating with a BSc in chemistry before gaining a PhD in organic chemistry. He joined the staff of Jordanhill College School (later renamed Jordanhill School) in 1974 as a chemistry teacher, where he would remain until his retirement in 2009, latterly as principal teacher of guidance and pastoral care, but also still teaching chemistry.

Colleagues said he was the epitome of the school's Latin motto, Ad summa nitor (Strive for the highest). In 1995, to mark the school's 75th anniversary, he combined his two great loves by hiring the Waverley for a sail doon the watter by delighted Jordanhill pupils.

In addition to fighting to keep the Waverley afloat, Dr McKendrick was highly active in the Blairmore Pier Trust, whose aim is to retain the historic, mid-19th century pier near Dunoon on the shores of Loch Long, which now provides the only access from the sea to the beauties of the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park.

He was also a leading figure in the PS Kingswear Castle Trust, to preserve the coal-fired steamer Kingswear Castle, which sails the river Medway and the Thames from its base at the historic harbour in Chatham, Kent.

The Rev Colin Renwick, of Jordanhill Parish Church and the school's chaplain said: "Dr Joe was a very popular member of staff who was loved by his classes. His mischievous sense of humour was well-known to pupils and colleagues alike. One colleague frequently found his packed lunch hidden inside the workings of the departmental photocopier or would discover that Joe had shaken his can of Irn Bru just before he opened it.

"He would check with the Home Economics Department as to when pupils were making cakes and hang around the department to tell pupils that he needed to sample their baking to ensure that Jordanhill standards were being maintained."

Dr McKendrick died in Glasgow's Western Infirmary after a sudden illness. He was unmarried. He is survived by several cousins and a wide circle of friends at Jordanhill School and among lovers of the Waverley.