Obituary: John Livingstone - Entrepreneur who was quick to spot potential of IT and role it would play

Born: 12 February, 1949, in Edinburgh. Died: 1 November, 2011, in Edinburgh, aged 62

JOHN Livingstone was a distinguished man whose devotion to his wife and family was a fundamental focus throughout his life. He achieved considerable success in commerce and as early as the late Sixties recognised the major role technology and computers were to play throughout society – both in business and personal lifestyles.

Livingstone, in his late twenties, decided to retrain through the Edinburgh City Computing Services and became an acknowledged expert in the sector. Within 20 years, he was to rise to senior posts in technological companies filling executive roles with flair and expertise.

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Livingstone was to go on to assume other posts in the computing industry in Edinburgh before, along with his wife, he set up his own servicing company, which he built up with an astute understanding of the industry.

In 2006, such was its success that he was able to sell the business, allowing him to retire and concentrate much of his energies on travelling throughout Europe.

One of his greatest joys in later years was driving in one his many cars – sometimes a bright green campervan – to Poland with his beloved wife Wanda. There they had a flat in Warsaw and were able to visit her homeland – usually accompanied by her Tatra Mountain Shepherd dogs. They revisited many friends and family that his wife had not seen for many years.

John Fletcher Leitch Livingstone was always known as Jack at home, but professionally as John. His father had been a miner in the East Lothian pits and Livingstone started work in Edinburgh as a travelling salesman in computers. From 1966, he joined the Border knitwear company of Ballantyne as a designer of cashmere sportswear .

Three years later, Livingstone decided to retrain and enrolled as a trainee computer operator with the Edinburgh University Computing Service and steadily worked his way through a variety of posts until, in 1989, he was appointed computer systems and communications manager. In 1990, Fletcher joined Edinburgh Portable Computers in a similar capacity.

Livingstone met Wanda in the capital’s Casablanca Club in Rose Street in 1969. They married the following year at the University of Edinburgh Catholic Chaplaincy Centre in George Square and set up their first home near Easter Road. They also spent some years at Greenlaw in Berwickshire before returning to Edinburgh.

Livingstone and his wife, with typical foresight and enthusiasm, set up in 1993, ACCESS Computing . The company, then situated in Rutland Square, provided hardware and software solutions for computer installations within many organisations. They hand-picked a most able workforce and with their shrewd management and knowledge of the computing industry, the Livingstones were able to sell the company in 2006. ACCESS, by then, was acknowledged as one of the most successful information technology companies in Scotland.

Livingstone was a man of many interests. He enjoyed hill walking and fishing and was a keen member of the Scottish Malt Whisky Association. A major interest was history and throughout his life he was a keen student of European history. He took a very special interest in the history and traditions of Poland and whenever he and his wife visited that country, he delighted in finding new aspects of it and took much trouble to locate Wanda’s forebears.

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He also had an abiding love of aeroplanes and had a large collection of model planes, which he had carefully assembled. For a number of years he organised flights over the tall ship races in the harbour of Aberdeen.

Two were particularly memorable occasions. One year Livingstone had flown the party in a Douglas DC3, which had been much used in Second World War, and the following year he found a more modern means of transport. Livingstone hired a twin-bladed helicopter to view the ships as they sailed out of Aberdeen.

Livingstone was connected with several Polish charities in Scotland, most notably the Polish School of Medicine at Edinburgh University whose historical collection is housed in the Erskine Medical Library. Livingstone was a founder and member of Polish Connections Charity Group. Livingstone and his wife attended whenever possible St Simons Church in Glasgow. It built close ties with the Polish forces during the war and provided a Polish mass for the troops in Scotland.

His wife died last year and Livingstone is survived by his daughter Genevieve and son John. ROBERT MALCOLM