Funeral of Jackie McKie

Order of Service:: conducted by Alistair Bate

Music :: Where Corals Lie, Elgar
Welcome :: Alistair
Eulogy ::
Tribute :: Adrian
Readings :: Sarah and Peter
Tribute :: Alastair
Musical Interlude :: James Taylor
Committal ::
Reflections in thankfulness and remembrance ::
Reading :: An Indian Prayer
A Celtic Blessing ::
Music :: Summertime, Gershwin

Poems Read

The Little White Rose
The rose of all the world is not for me
I want for my part
Only the little white rose of Scotland
That smells sharp and sweet and breaks the heart
By Hugh MacDiarmid

Sea Fever

I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.

By John Masefield

A Boy's Song
Where the pools are bright and deep,
Where the grey trout lies asleep,
Up the river and over the lea,
That's the way for Billy and me.
By James Hogg

An Indian Prayer
I give you this one thought to keep,
I'm with you still. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush,
Of quiet birds in circled flight
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not think of me as gone
I am with you still, in each new dawn.
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there, I do not sleep.
Do not stand there at my grave and cry,
I am not there, I did not die.
Author Unknown.


The Service

Some words from the poet, Goethe:
“The thought of death leaves me in perpetual peace,for I have a firm conviction that our spirit is a being of indestructible nature, which like the sun, though it appears to set to our mortal eyes, does not really set but shines on perpetually.”

Good afternoon friends. My name is Alistair Bate. Welcome to this celebration of the life of John McKie, known to you all as Jackie. It is good to see so many of you here today a true sign of how much Jackie was known and loved and I know that you have come from far and wide to be with us today, even from the USA and Australia. You are all very welcome.

Jackie was born on the 23rd June 1938 in Edinburgh, the son of Peggy and John McKie and the younger brother of Alec. He was raised in Buccleuch Terrace and first attended Sciennes primary school. He was a popular and outgoing boy who had very good friends in Shug and Angus Grant who lived in the same stair. They had a lot of fun together and got up to plenty of mischief, Jackie rarely getting the blame for anything as he was always the fastest runner! Jackie's father was a joiner and a good provider for his family and they all enjoyed summer holidays in Kirkcudbright with Jackie's Auntie Lizzy and family each summer.

When Jackie was just thirteen his father died, a terrible loss at a tender age, and then tragically his mother also died a year later. Jackie then went to stay with his Granny, his brother Alec and sister-in-law Dorothy in Drummond Street and continued his education at Murray House. As a boy Jackie enjoyed making model aeroplanes, on one occasion launching one off the top of Arthur's Seat. He was quite skilful with his hands and after finishing school became an apprentice mechanic. However, as Jackie's family in Kirkcudbright were a great seafaring family, perhaps the sea was in his blood, for he decided to join the Merchant Navy which he did at the age of seventeen and a half. He loved his time as a merchant Marine and sailed all over the world, from North America to South Georgia to the Far East as well as many trips up and down the east coast of Britain. When not busily engaged in his duties as a seaman Jackie spent his spare time on board reading and he read very widely, anything from science fiction to history, archaeology or philosophy. Although quite bright and a good average student it was after finishing school and in his late teens on board ship that Jackie truly developed a taste for learning.

When he was twenty years old, Jackie had gone with some friends on their motorbikes down to Gullane for the day and it was here that Jackie met the love of his life, Jill. He then looked for jobs on the ships going from Leith to Ipswich and back and consequently he became a regular visitor to Jill's house in Ipswich, so much so that her granddad christened him “the Fireside Sailor” !

On June 18th 1960 Jackie and Jill were married at Hunter Square register office in Edinburgh and made their first home in London Street. By this time Jackie was working as a roofer and slater for Walker's Builders and hadn't the slightest fear of heights when working on the roofs of both the North British and Caledonian Hotels. However, he did not remain in this work for long and soon moved on to work as an engineer for Burroughs Adding Machines in Sheffield and here he and Jill were blessed to become the parents of Adrian in 1961. Alastair was born the following year by which time the family were living in Ipswich and in 1965 when Sarah was born the family were based in Derbyshire but shortly afterwards moved back to Ipswich where a house was purchased and Jackie worked for Avis Cook as a service engineer. Both he and Jill were very hard-working parents, both working shifts and managing childcare between them. Somehow, at the same time, Jackie also managed to go to night school and study for his A levels.

Having achieved his A levels with flying colours Jackie then gained a place at the University of Stirling to study for an honours degree in Sociology, so the young family moved from Ipswich and relocated at Tullibody between Alloa and Stirling, a small village with lovely views of the Ochils. Jackie made many friends at University, which turned out to be friends for life, including of course his good friend Peter, who also happened to be one of his teachers. Peter describes Jackie at that time as “very sharp”, a “true contrarian” and says that, quote “I knew with McKie in my class I couldn't be sloppy”! It was becoming quite clear that Jackie could have a distinguished academic career ahead of him and this, of course, is how things transpired.

Jackie, having gained his B.A. then went to Jordan Hill where he attained his diploma in education, after which he began his long and rewarding career as a lecturer at Napier University. He lectured in Sociology but was also something of a specialist in both medical sociology and crime and deviance. He was an exemplary teacher; energetic and compassionate; an unforgettable teacher who made an indelible impression on many of his students. In fact, students enrolled on Jackie's courses sometimes found it hard to get a seat at his lectures as they were so popular with students throughout the university who used to come just to hear him teach. He enjoyed keeping up friendships with many of his students and was also a great mentor, one who encouraged the despondent student to persevere and who thereby saved many a good academic career. As well as lecturing at Napier, Jackie was also acclaimed for his research and consultancy work in such areas as alcohol consumption in the distilling industry and housing problems in underprivileged areas and he was fortunate, through his friend Peter, to be invited to be a visiting fellow to the universities of Utah and Minnesota and these trips to America occasioned many happy times for Jackie, Jill and all concerned.

Jackie was very proud of his family and all his children's achievements in life; Adrian, a company director, Alastair, a solicitor and Sarah, following in her father's footsteps, a principal teacher. He was also very glad to see each of his children happily settled; Adrian with Maggie, Alastair with Margaret and Sarah with Peter and was even more delighted to be the very loving, and indulgent granddad of Jack, Ava, Rory, Tom and Calum. He loved spending time with them all, encouraged them to think for themselves and was tickled recently when Rory, who is still very little, presumed to argue for the existence of a Divine Creator with his atheist Granddad!

Over the years Jackie and Jill have enjoyed many wonderful holidays together and I'm sure that later we will hear more about these happy times. Over recent years they have visited Majorca and Islay, Florence, Pisa and Paris and thanks to a kind birthday gift from Alastair and Margaret also stayed at the Savoy in London. Jackie was a very romantic and devoted husband to Jill for 47 years and a true soul-mate.

He was such an active man. Just a couple of weeks ago he was walking on Ben Ledi above Callander and just a couple of days before his passing Jackie and Jill were enjoying a walk along the river at South Queensferry. It was a terrible shock therefore when, on the night of the 15th January, Jackie passed away suddenly, painlessly and very peacefully in his bed. Jill and Adrian tried very hard to bring him back but this was not to be. I am sure that all of our hearts are with Jill and the whole family at this time of loss.

And so friends we mourn and pay tribute to a good man, a very intelligent, warm hearted man, a great teacher, a loving husband, father, grandfather and friend to many. He will be much missed and very fondly remembered. May he rest in peace.

I would now like to invite Adrian to come and speak to us:

Thank you Adrian for that very fitting tribute.

And now I would like to invite Sarah and Peter to come and read for us:

And now I would like to invite Alastair to come and say a few words:

And now some time for our own thoughts and memories of Jackie as we listen to some music:

Please rise for the committal:
Jackie, we commit your body to be cremated and to the keeping of mother earth which bears us all. We are glad that you lived that we saw your face, knew your friendship, and walked the way of life with you. We deeply cherish the memory of your words and deeds and character. We leave you in peace. With respect we bid you farewell. In love we remember your companionship, your kindly ways and thinking of you in this manner let us live in love, one with another.

Please be seated. Let's now take a few moments of quiet reflection in thankfulness and remembrance:
And now let us give thanks for every gift of life that brings us joy, peace and strength of heart at a time of loss.
We give thanks for each person whose life speaks to us words of hope and affirmation.
We give thanks especially for Jackie in whose memory we gather ………
As we each recall in a moment of silence what he meant to us………. as husband, brother, father, grand-father, father-in-law, uncle, relative or friend…………..
We recall with gratitude Jackie's unforgettable personality, his devotion to his wife and family, his sense of humour and his love of life.
In the rising of the sun and its going down, we will remember him
In the beginning of the year and when it ends, we will remember him, .....
In the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter, we will remember him,
In the opening of buds and in the rebirth of spring, we will remember him,
In the blueness of the sky and in the warmth of summer, we will remember him,
In the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of autumn, we will remember him,
When we are lost and sick of heart, we will remember him,
When we have joys we yearn to share, we will remember him,
So long as we live, he too shall live, for he is now a part of us, as we remember him. ........

And our final reading is a well known anonymous poem which could speak Jackie's word to you all:
I give you this one thought to keep,
I'm with you still. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush,
Of quiet birds in circled flight
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not think of me as gone
I am with you still, in each new dawn.
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there, I do not sleep.
Do not stand there at my grave an cry
I am not there, I did not die.

If you would like to make a donation in Jackie's memory for Chest, Heart and Stroke, Scotland, then there will be an opportunity to do so as you leave the chapel and there will be a reception in Jackie’s memory immediately following this service at the Cumberland Bar in Cumberland Street, to which you are all warmly invited. Please rise for our closing words:

And so may the road rise with you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
May the rain fall soft upon your fields,
And until we meet again,
May the hand of a friend be always near .....