(I wanted to share this article about my late uncle which I was asked to write for publication in some local news papers in the Scottish Borders and Fraserburgh – his home town)
Mr Andrew May Duthie known affectionately to his friends as Andy – passed away Saturday 25th August 2012
Andy Duthie, originally from Fraserburgh in the North East of Scotland, came with his wife Jean and their young daughter Ruth to Galashiels in 1958. Their family was complete when David was born in 1959 after they had moved into a house in Waverlay Place, Netherdale.
His first career choice was to be a joiner so he served his time working with Hall and Robertson in Fraserburgh. Subsequently, he pursued his passion to work with young people and so attended the Teacher Training College in Aberdeen to become a teacher of Technical Subjects. He taught PE at Cairnbulg Primary School for a short time and it was there that he was reaquanted Jean Findlay who was a primary teacher. They married at Fraserburgh Baptist Church on 28th July 1956.
Andy was to spend his entire teaching career at Galashiels Academy. He was promoted to Principle Teacher of Guidance which allowed him to focus more on helping pupils make career choices and also work through challenging and sometimes difficult social situations. His great passion was to help them to develop into young adults and his work as a guidance teacher fulfilled this for him. Mr Duthie would often be seen with his briefcase in hand hurrying from one part of the school to another – this earned him the nick name Speedy (as in Speedy Gonzales). He continued to work as a teacher of technical subjects and was involved in setting up the ROSLA courses, an initiative to provide vocational input for pupils who were not so attracted to study academic subjects.
At the head teacher’s request Andy, already a scout set up a new troup at Galashiels Academy. This he did willingly, giving his own time to get the 4th Gala Troup operational. Every year he organized the Scout camp which would see the group members camping at places including Loch Goilhead, Loch Earn and Arran where Andy would supervise various constructional projects such as raft and bridge building. He was a key personality in the Scottish Borders Scouting movement and latterly was District Scout Master before retiring from that after many years of service. Scouting Principles and the Scout Law were very important factors in Andy’s life and this, along with his Christian faith did much to make the man he became. Andy took his work as a Scouter very seriously and held to the view that the activities were more than just time fillers and actually provided an environment which afforded those involved, opportunities for character building and being more effective team players.
Jean and Andy worshiped at the Victoria Street Baptist Church where he was to serve as a deacon for many years. He was involved in the process of merging the Stirling Street and Victoria Street Baptist churches when the individual churches were judged to be unsustainable. He would also give of his own time to help maintain the church building doing joinery work with some support from other willing members. For this he gladly gave of his time.
Andy retired in 1994, four years after Jean, and both enjoyed many years together at their home – Craigpark House in Galashiels where they lived for 35 years in total. This house was to be a setting for many church house group meetings and barbeques. The cellar was converted into a workshop where Andy did many projects. He also enjoyed playing the piano accordion and painting water colours, he was a man of many talents.
Eventually, in 2003 they decided that the time was right to relocate to Bridge of Don, Aberdeen to be nearer their family and four grand children. Their new home provided another interest for Andy and he developed various projects to make their new house more comfortable and more easily maintained. The home was within easy distance of the Bridge of Don Baptist church which they attended and made a group of close friends with whom they enjoyed regular excursions seeking out suitable coffee shops and beauty spots in and around the North East of Scotland.
Andy was a keen traveller and loved to journey to new locations. This resulted in many holidays to places beyond the UK including camping holidays in Europe and then in later life further afield to the USA and Canada. Andy and Jean once embarked on a back-packing holiday when they travelled across the USA by train and bus. During this holiday they were able to make contact with family members and visit locations where Jean’s ancestors had settled in the early 1900’s. From an early stage, travel inspired Andy to learn foreign languages, including French and German and in later in life he even attempted Polish, he was determined to communicate with people in their own language.
Despite having some health issues and his deteriorating hearing, Andy maintained a healthy interest in everything that took place around him. He was always happy to be in company especially family gatherings and enjoyed these times immensely. Andy was a keen TV watcher particularly of history and nature programs and liked to take charge of the remote control. He passed away suddenly and peacefully at home with Jean and members of his family close by.
Andy will be sorely missed by Jean, the immediate family and his many friends but the legacy of his memory will remain a source of comfort for all who knew him.