Former president of the EIS

Born: July 16, 1926;

Died: May 1, 2017

DICK McGregor, who has died aged 90, was a former president of the teaching union the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) and a headteacher who was devoted to his pupils and colleagues.

He was born in 1926 in Clydebank, the son of Alexander and Emily McGregor. His father was chief clerk in the Singer sewing machine factory. He was the youngest of four siblings, a sister and two brothers. He attended Boquhanran Primary school and then Clydebank High School.

His secondary education was affected by the Second World War and, in particular the Clydebank Blitz. He was evacuated and his family lost their home in the bombing. He attended secondary schools in Dumbarton, Inverness and Paisley, as well as Clydebank.

Having completed his Highers, he lied about his age and joined the Royal Navy, serving in the Fleet Air Arm. On demobilisation, he went to Glasgow University and graduated with a degree in English and history. He enjoyed university life, playing hockey and bridge for the university team. He was also a keen cyclist and would frequently take to his bike to cycle the four lochs on a summer’s evening. He subsequently completed teacher training and his first post was at Washington Street School in Glasgow.

He met and married Ruby (nee Seeth) at the Union Church, Dalmuir in 1951. He and Ruby lived initially with his parents in East Barns Street in Clydebank where they had their first child, a daughter, Morna, in 1952. In 1956, the family moved to New Cumnock, Ayrshire, where the teaching post came with a house. Their son, Graham, was born there. They moved back to Clydebank in 1957.

Mr McGregor was appointed to his first headteacher position at Renton Primary in the Vale of Leven in 1960. He was subsequently appointed as the first headteacher of the newly built Lenzie Moss Primary before taking over as headteacher at Dalmuir Primary School which, with a roll of 1200 at one point, was one of the largest primary schools in the UK. He held this position until he retired in 1988.

During his career as a teacher, Mr McGregor worked tirelessly on behalf of his pupils and colleagues. He was for many years secretary of Dunbartonshire EIS. He was made a fellow of the EIS in 1976 and was president of the Institute in 1982. He spent many evenings and weekends supporting teachers with problems or who had fallen on difficult times.

He was a long standing member and strong supporter of Dalmuir Bowling Club and was club secretary for many years. A noted figure on the Burns’ Supper circuit he organised the club’s annual Burns’ supper for several decades. His contribution to the club was recognised when he was made honorary life president and the members’ lounge in the clubhouse was named in his honour. He was a speaker at many Burns’ nights where he regularly proposed the lassies, delivered the immortal memory and recited Tam O’ Shanter and Holy Wullie’s Prayer – on occasion all four.

He was at ease dealing with politicians and civil servants, parents and pupils. A sociable man, he enjoyed the company of his family and friends. He had a great sense of humour, a ready wit and was particularly noted for his bad puns.

He enjoyed several years of retirement, staying active in his community particularly through the bowling club until Ruby suffered progressively from ill health before her death in 2005. He maintained his independence until late in life before increasingly restricted mobility required him to move into Almond View Care Home in 2015. He died in the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

He is survived by his daughter Morna, husband Alan, his son Graham, wife Katrina, his grandchildren Angie, Janine, Claire and Mark and great grandchildren Emily, Connor, John and Skye.