Obituary: George Brodlie, journalist

George Brodlie
George Brodlie
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Born: 31 January, 1913, in Forfar. Died: 13 September, 2013, in Edinburgh, aged 100.

George Brodlie had a long and distinguished career as a journalist, first with the Aberdeen Press and Journal and then, from 1952, with The Scotsman in Edinburgh where he rose to be financial editor before retiring in 1978.

He was born and raised in Forfar where the family business was the Forfar Rope Works. His early days in Forfar were to shape his whole life.

Forfar Academy, where he was dux in 1930, gave him a love of writing that he realised through his journalism career. The academy also gave him his deep love of Scotland, sparked by history lessons when he was only nine years old.

A lifelong Scottish Nationalist, he was awarded honorary life membership of the SNP on his 100th birthday. His nationalism was based not on any short-term economic benefits of independence, but from a deep-rooted love of the history and culture of his native land.

He met his wife, Anna, in Aberdeen shortly before his war service with the RAF 45 squadron, and they married immediately after the war in September 1945. They had a long and very happy marriage until Anna died in 1997.

He was a born journalist and found his forté in reporting the financial world from a Scottish perspective. His articles often took the form of a conversation over a glass of malt whisky between a Man In the Bar (MIB) and a stockbroker “in a bar just off Throgmorton Street”, with pithy comments from barman, Syd – how much research this required we shall never know!

He continued writing his weekly Market Review long after he retired. The “MIB” was a highly successful format for conveying investment advice and wisdom in a style that a broad audience could appreciate, especially in the 1980s when many people new to investing gained shares in the privatised utility companies such as British Gas.

His energy meant he was always on the go. A major part of his life was his public service through the Edinburgh Rotary Club, where he was granted honorary membership as a mark of his long and positive contribution to Rotary. He was an active and committed trade unionist throughout his life (receiving a special recognition award from the National Union of Journalists on his 100th birthday).

After retirement, he became secretary of the George Street Association, and taught evening classes introducing people to investing in stocks and shares.

The calculation of feu duty factors for The Scotsman was something he did until feu duty was abolished in the early part of this century when George was already in his 90s (it was rumoured he kept this job because he was the only person in the world who knew how to do the calculation!).

He had an inexhaustible fund of stories – some narrated to his family and friends on any opportunity (how often did we hear “stop me if you’ve heard this one before”, of course no-one dared say “stop”) – some written as contributions to Scottish publications, some as weekly stories to his much loved grandchildren, typed on an old manual typewriter and wrapped in a copy of The Sunday Post.

These stories were founded on his deep love of history and literature that, with his wide general knowledge, meant that a conversation with George was always a learning experience. He always enjoyed a party.

His unselfishness and kindness are remembered in many ways, not least his personal care of his wife Anna as her health deteriorated.

He was proud to have made the century and get the telegram from the Queen. He would have been 
especially proud to read the cause of death on his death certificate – extreme old age.

He is survived by his son Kenneth, daughter-in-law Trish, two grandsons, Malcolm and Alastair, and two great-grandsons, Thomas and Joseph.