Pioneering and innovative, he was responsible for designing the manufacturing process for the “Hula Hoop” potato snack in the sixties, and went on to introduce the first computerised newspaper press in Scotland in the late seventies.
Ian graduated from Glasgow University in 1949 with a degree in Chemical Engineering and was then called to military service. He represented his regiment at swimming, water polo and rifle shooting, the latter activity causing a lifelong problem with his hearing. It was in the army he was taught to drive but, unfortunately, it was in a tank transporter and this had a lasting impact on his driving style and the ongoing anxiety of his passengers.
On leaving the army, he was employed by ICI in Ayrshire and his commute from Glasgow took almost two hours each way using trams, trains and buses. It was at this time he met his future wife, Margaret and they married on 17 December, 1952 at the University Memorial Chapel in Glasgow. Margaret was a dietician but had served at Bletchley Park during the war, which she did not speak about until she was recognised with a medal in 2009.
Ian then moved to an engineering role in Liverpool where the couple enjoyed one of the most rewarding episodes of their lives. Liverpool was a great place to be during the sixties and there was a sense of fun and vibrancy in their social circles, and they made strong lifelong friendships, particularly through Ian’s love of sailing. It was in Liverpool that their daughters, Anne, Laura and Elspeth were born and Ian would subsequently take them out on his Mirror dinghy to teach them sailing.
Ian’s life-long love of sailing continued after he left Liverpool which enabled him to regularly meet his friends on sailing holidays on the west coast and the Mediterranean.
He gained his master’s certificate with a friend and went on own a Conway and a hand-built 36ft ketch.
Ian then took a prestigious role at Mars UK where he developed the Hula Hoop process. His family remember the bags of free sweets that he would regularly take home which developed into a lifelong aversion to Mars bars for them all. His job took him to various sites in the south of England and during this time the family enjoyed several camping holidays in Italy and Spain.
In 1972 life took a dramatic turn for the family. Margaret’s relatives were retiring from being proprietors of the Huntly Express for 26 years and Ian and Margaret bought the business. In 1974 he expanded the business by buying the Banffshire Herald and by 1982 he had moved the whole business to modern premises. It was during this time that he bought an original Apple Mac with computer type and page setting and eventually phased out hot metal. No other newspaper could do this easily because of the union environment.
During his 20 years in Huntly, Ian participated in a wide range of community activities and was twice president of the local Rotary Club and was a serving councillor on the last Huntly Town council when it was disbanded with regionalisation in 1975. Up until his retirement in 1988, Ian held various roles in local organisations and charities, as did Margaret and they were widely liked and respected in the local community.
During their retirement, Ian and Margaret enjoyed their passion for travelling and, in addition to outings in their beloved caravan, they travelled further afield throughout Europe and to Russia, India, USA and China. From 1992 onwards the pair would spend three months in spring and autumn at their apartment in the pleasant Moorish town of Mojacar in Spain where their daughters and family would visit them.
In 2002, Ian and Margaret moved to Cramond in Edinburgh to be nearer their families and Margaret passed away in 2011.
Ian maintained his cheerful and independent spirit up until the very end and continued to show his prowess for volunteering by attending and being treasurer of a keep-fit class at Fettes College Sports Club.
It is with pride that I acknowledge a great man who led a very diverse and fulfilled life and he will be sorely missed by those he leaves behind. He is survived by his daughters Anne, Laura and Elspeth, his grandchildren and his first great-grandchild Campbell.