Eulogy for John Glen
Eulogy for John Glen, written by his daughter Sharon
“A Life Well Lived”
Let me start by saying what a joy it is to see you all here today, at this very private gathering of family and friends. This would have meant so much to Dad, John and Glyn. That’s right. You all knew him, by whichever name you used, in your own way, and therefore please treasure your personal memories of this unique man.
One thing we ARE all agreed on, John Glen was a character. Love him or not, you could never ignore him, something his three sons never dared to do.
John was born in Caldercruix on 21st February 1925, the middle boy between two sisters, Ruth the younger and Malize the older (and what a pleasure it is to see her daughter, our cousin Doreen, who is with us here today).
He was the grandson of John White, the Moderator of the General Assembly, a connection of which he was very proud. This gave John a strong moral compass that stayed with him his whole life.
John was taught by a governess until he was 8, and then spent a short time at Glasgow Academy. Ill health resulted in removal to the countryside, and he completed his early education at Ardvreck School in Crieff.
John then moved on to the family school, Glenalmond, where he excelled at shooting. In 1938 John gained a place at Cambridge where he joined the University Air Squadron. Most of his flight instruction took place in Wales, which is where he earned his life-long nickname, ‘GLYN’, the Welsh pronunciation of ‘GLEN’.
When war was declared he immediately enlisted in the RAF and was sent to Canada for training as a bomb aimer/ navigator. After the war, he met and married Jill Gavin, the younger sister of Jean Gavin, a good friend.
Upon joining Paton & Baldwin, the Alloa wool-merchants, the newly-married couple were sent to South Africa where John took up the position of salesman and book-keeper for the Johannesburg office. Their return to the UK a few happy years later was prompted by the marriage of Jean to Harry Drapper, and I’d like to welcome their sons Christopher and Roger here today with their family.
Back in the UK John accepted a job offer with Edward McBean & Company, the Glasgow waterproof manufacturers, which secured their life and future in Scotland.
They set up shop at The Cottage, Campsie Glen, and over the next 12 years produced their three sons.
By now the family had moved to Ballindalloch. These were without doubt the most active years of John’s busy life, involving himself with the Skinners, the Junior Chamber of Commerce and politics.
Kindred spirits became treasured members of his extended family, including Ronald and Alean MacLeod (and it’s so nice to see Deirdre here) and Forbes and Margaret MacPherson (and it is also a real joy to see you here today, Margaret). Not forgetting Robert Reid, who became a brother to us all and is here with us today.
John’s business thrived, his family matured, and Bisley and shooting became a hallmark of his character.
He was a member of Great Britain rifle teams to the West Indies, Canada and Australia, and we are honoured to have a member of the 1968 GB Team to Australia and New Zealand here today, Roger Mason. This activity culminated in being selected to captain Scotland for three years, which saw him winning the Caledonian Shield.
He loved Bisley, her atmosphere and her people, and thrived on the competition. He continued to attend the Imperial Meeting long after he had given up shooting, and right through to his 90’s his shooting friends stayed in touch and he with them.
(story of Glen’s Glory)
- John had an endearing sense of the ridiculous, and this can be no better illustrated by his detailed presentation of the woeful lack of ablution facilities at Bisley Camp.
National politics gave him a wonderful outlet for his passion. Standing for Parliament during the Edward Heath years brought the whole family into sharp focus, but even in those days, being a Conservative in Scotland was not a career move.
At the age of 51, in 1976, John and Jill said good-bye to Balfron and moved to Brig O’Turk, bravely living for a year in the adjacent mobile home whilst The Colloch was being built. They spent the next 42 years, nearly half of John’s life, happily in the Trossachs.
By now he was retired but was able to continue his life-long love of hunting, fishing, gardening and bringing up his beloved dogs. They embraced Brig O’ Turk and Callander, and Brig O’ Turk and Callander took them to their hearts.
He loved having his grandchildren around him, and they in turn loved visiting him in Brig O’ Turk. As a grandfather he was great fun letting them do all the things their parents would not allow! I leave you to use your own imagination, usually involving ride-on mowers, hammers, nails, saws and the like!
His final days were shadowed by the loss of Jill, but he remained happy and fulfilled thanks to the love, care and attention shown to him by Bo Cook and her family, who worked so diligently to maintain his lifestyle in The Colloch to the very end.
These final instructions to you all were found in his file:
“DO NOT STAND AROUND IN THE SCOTTISH TRADITION AND SHAKE HANDS WITH EVERYONE. A VERY MORBID IDEA! GO OUT AND HAVE A GOOD PARTY NOW!”