John Thomson "Jack"  8th October 1929-17th May 2018

 The following Eulogy was given by Dianne his daughter at Kirkpatrick –Durham Church

Friday 25th May


Jack was born at Langwell Cottage, Kirkpatrick Durham to John Robert Thomson and Maggie Dinwoodie Blackley Thomson on 8th October 1929, and apart from his National Service, his whole life and heart remained in the vill  He had an older brother Billy, who nearly let Jack drown in the Porch Burn when he was 2 years old, which left Jack with a lifetime aversion to water, apart from a drop in his whisky!

Following on from his mother and brother, who were both Duxes, Jack’s early education was at Kirkpatrick Durham Primary School.  There he received encouragement and an excellent education from Jock Bain the Headmaster, who incidentally gave Jack, who was still at school, his first fill of baccy for the pipe Jack won at a Whist Drive.    During WW2, pupils from Glasgow were evacuated to Kirkpatrick Durham and shared the primary school, with village children and evacuees having a half day each in school.   Jack thought this was wonderful.

Jack moved on to Castle Douglas High School where he excelled academically and won several prizes.  Then, being relieved to throw his school bag in the door for the last time, he moved on to the De Beer School for Secretarial Studies in Dumfries.  Jack was then offered a job at R L Robertson’s Timber Merchants at 35/- (£1.75) a week, which put any thought of a career in accountancy out of his mind.   Mr R L Robertson gave Jack £5 at his first Christmas, so Jack thought he must be doing fine.

Jack was called up for National Service, which he thought a complete waste of time, but it was whilst he was at Oxford that he met his lifelong friend, David Mclean, affectionately known to the family as Uncle David.  About this time Jack became the proud owner of the first racer bike in Kirkpatrick Durham.  He bought it second hand from Yorkshire and it cost 10/- (50p) for the bike and 10/- for the carriage.  It had a dynamo and it was the envy of the village.

On his return to Civvy Life Jack, following in the footsteps of his family, enthusiastically immersed himself in village activities.   These included football and amateur dramatics and membership of Kirkpatrick Durham Curling Club, of which his two great- grandfathers were founding members in 1838.  Jack subsequently became Secretary and Treasurer of the Curling Club for over 30 years, continuing the family tradition.  He became Secretary of the local branch of the Liberal Party and was a lifetime member.  He was also a member of the Covenanting Society and when Robison & Davidson asked him to name the new housing in Springholm he suggested Cameronian Place, after the now vanished Cameronian Church in Springholm.  He was a hardworking supporter and fundraiser of the Village Hall, and latterly a Hall Trustee.   He won many prizes at the local Flower Show of which he was a supporter, and bought one of the original pre-war silver trophies which he found at a local auction. He also gave a lifetime’s support to Kirkpatrick Durham Kirk of which he was Session Clerk for many years, becoming an elder and a member of the Board from 1953.  Jack like most children in those days went to the Sunday school from an early age.  Following a Sunday School Party he told his mother when he returned home that he was the ninety oneth one, (showing the large number of children who then attended).

It was at a dance at Crocketford in 1956 that he met Jessie Halliday, and despite serious attention from another, Jack won the night!  He and Jessie were married on 12th June 1958, and would have celebrated their 60th anniversary next month.  It was a very happy and successful marriage and in a speech at their 40th wedding anniversary, Jack paid tribute to Jessie by acknowledging her loyal and loving support.  Home was to be Norwood in Kirkpatrick Durham where they welcomed Dianne into the world and in 1965 they moved to their forever home, Minnydow, and the golden years began.  Roger was born in 1965 and the family was then complete.

Jack was then Company Secretary at R L Robertson’s and became Chairman and Managing Director, continuing a long association with the Robertson family.  He finished his career as Managing Director of the Garland & Roger Group and retired at the age of 58.

Retirement gave Jack the opportunity to indulge his love of gardening, antique collecting and adding to his Galloway Book Library.  Some of his antique purchases resulted in him being given the cold shoulder by Jessie, but the icy blast never lasted long, and his Scottish Silver was a feature on the Antiques Roadshow when it was in Dumfries.  Jack was a great local historian and his knowledge was unsurpassed.  People from all over the world contacted him about their family histories.   His recollection of days gone by was renowned.

Jack was fortunate in having all his family close by with Mike and Dianne setting up home down the drive, and then the arrival of his much loved grandchildren, James and Hilary.   Roger followed his father into the timber trade, ultimately setting up with two friends the Dumfries Timber Co, and Jack was very proud of him.   The family has further increased with the birth of Hilary and Matthew’s two children, great grandson Andrew, and great granddaughter, Edith.   His family and Minnydow were the loves of his life.

Jack was a kind, considerate and compassionate man who embraced people from all walks of life.   This was his nature, and his family, although sad, have nothing but happy memories.

In conclusion, Jack had a great love of whisky and he always quoted James Hogg the Ettrick Shepherd who said, “If a man knew the right quantity of whisky to drink each day, he would live forever”.  Jack never found the right amount but he had a damn good job trying, and his family will keep on trying.           

 Editors note:Jack was  instrumental in helping to set up this website ,providing much of the historical content and specialist knowledge for the Communion plate catalogue.He also helped us trace and  provide family history details  for 27 overseas enquiries from Canada US Australia and New Zealand and other countries.Nothing was too much trouble in this respect and he had time for everyone.