Obituary - Martin Clark

Mon 25th September 2017 at 13.30 -

Martin Clark, Past President, PHF

Martin's Obituary by Cron Mackay:
I first met Martin through work in 1984. He was the Senior Partner in Gordon & Dey, Architects, who were based in Heriot Row. We provided the furniture and fittings for their new premises in Liberton, where Martin transformed a drab ex-telephone exchange into a bright, modern and efficient office for 5 partners plus other staff.

Many of his designs were infuential. He received 8 UK Design Awards for his work. His favourite project was a residential home for handicapped people near Perth and some features he created there are now commonplace in hospitals and residential homes. More recently, his work at Catchpell had architects from around the country showing interest. His design for the conversion of Sinclair's workshop had every single person in the council planning department visiting the site to see how he had managed to create, on 7 levels, such a spacious 2 bedroomed home with en-suites out of a corner shop with a basement.

I remember an early site visit with Martin and Rickie Ash, another partner, to the premises of one of his clients. Rickie explained the vision. His arms moved around enthusiastically painting the picture. After a while Martin interrupted. There was a brief consultation. The arms started again, but now it was Martin's vision and this was the one the clients loved and accepted. This was the basis of their partnership. Martin was the supreme artist and designer. Rickie was the communicator / sales person. They made an excellent team, shared a common interest in music and were great friends outside work.

It was, therefore, devastating to Martin when, much later, Rickie suddenly disappeared to Spain with his guitar leaving behind a wife and young family and a large hole in the partnership coffers. At this point the other partners chose to leave the business leaving Martin to pick up the pieces. He paid all suppliers, and kept the business going with only two staff. The partnership had been destroyed but he ensured that nobody else was hurt by this tragic event. He moved to small premises in Leith, and when I set up Catchpell House Business Centre he moved in as a tenant and designed our expansion plans.

During his life, he demonstrated his full commitment to helping others both locally and world wide, firstly in Round Table and then with Rotary in 1986. He proposed me as a member a year later. It took me a whole year to pass through the entry procedures.

He became one of the most important members of the club. He was president in 1996-97 and served as Honorary Secretary for 11 years, much more than anyone else. Secretaries are blamed for everything but nothing happens without an efficient one. He happily looked after the drudge of the post and became a rock to club, deservedly receiving a Paul Harris Award. He contributed to all the activities of the club and volunteered for everything.

He considered it his duty to go to every District meeting, whether this was in Lockerbie, Peebles, or nearer home. He could cause trouble. District Officers like to talk at length. When I got dragged along as a driver, I would usually find us somewhere near the back where I could doze off. One surprising District report was "You all have my report in writing. I do not need to read it out. Are there any questions?" Martin stood up and led a widespread standing ovation. This caused complete confusion for the talkers who were to follow. Later meetings were much better, for a while.

He was always quick to offer help where it was needed and gave freely of his time. He served on the board of ECAS, formally the Edinburgh Cripple Aid Society, for over 20 years and chaired one of their important committees.

He was on the board of Leith Holiday Homes for several years. I am told that his contributions were always frank and to the point! I am sure they were.

He lent his expertise to Lamb's House Day Centre and oversaw the maintenance of the building.

I am sure he did much more besides that I do not know about. He was that sort of generous soul.

He sailed with the replica medieval galley "Aileach" for several years and was an expert in rope work, attracting great attention from passers-by who admired his beautifully neat splicing and knots. He also made wonderful model ships. One, of the galley, is on display in the "Museum of the Isles" on Skye.
He discovered a French wooden sailing ship, the Jean De la Lune, in Leith Docks which was being converted for a commercial venture. He offered his help and personally completed all the rigging, a mammoth job.

He had a very quick and incisive sense of humour which will be sadly missed by members. Unfortunately, when he lost his wife, June, a few years ago, much of his sense of fun went as well.

He tried to get some company with a cat. However, he was so worried that the cat might try to cross a road that he purchased an extending lead to control it. Unfortunately, the cat did what cats do and went on the prowl through bushes and under trees. Martin had to follow; crawling through the undergrowth to disentangle the lead and free Magnus. He did see the humour of the occasion and wondered what his neighbours might have thought he was up to.

He was a lovely, but at times an irascible man. There are lots of anecdotes I could add about him. He was a real character. He bore his recent ill health with great dignity and resignation but the fact that he could not really communcate was extremely frustrating.

He has been a great example to us all and demonstrated what it should be to be a Rotarian.
Whilst he would consider the phrase itself to be rather pompous, he did lead a full life of -

 SERVICE ABOVE SELF.