Want to read more?
We value our content and access to our full site is only available with a subscription. Your subscription entitles you to 7-day-a-week access to our website, plus a full digital copy of that week’s paper to read on your pc/mac or mobile device In addition your subscription includes access to digital archive copies from 2006 onwards
Just want to read one issue? No problem you can subscribe for just one week (or longer if you wish)
June 25, 1927 – November 23, 2017
A eulogy given by councillor Roddy McCuish at Oban Parish Church, November 30.
Kenny was born in Portobello in Edinburgh to Alexander and Margaret on June 25, 1927.
Along with his two sisters Francie and Eilidh, the family moved from Edinburgh to Glen Orchy where they lived with his grandfather Sam, who became a great influence on his life. He remembered fondly delivering the mail with his grandfather by boat on Loch Etive.
The family moved to Oban when his father became the gardener at Dunollie House and they lived at the lodge opposite the War Memorial. Kenny always remembered he was swimming in the sea when war was declared in 1939.
Only a few years later he left school at 15 to work for London Midland and Scottish Railway Company. He did this as his father had become ill and was bed ridden and no longer able to work. The MacDougalls were very kind to the family and allowed them to stay at the lodge. When his father died the family moved to Dalintart. By this time he had a younger brother Alisdair, and as well as becoming the main breadwinner for the family, Kenny became like a father figure to his younger brother.
Around this time, he met a young 16-year-old girl at the Connel dances. Jessie Henderson lived at Connel and Kenny used to run home from there back to Oban along the railway line. They married in 1951 at the Duror Hotel and many years later when the hotel burned down he teased Jessie wondering if that meant they were still married.
In 1952 their eldest son Kenneth was born, followed two years later by Gordon. Kenny announced the birth by saying: ‘You are now looking at the proud father of two sons.’ In 1957 Myrette was born followed by June in 1960.
While raising his family Kenny worked two jobs. Over the years he became involved in many other activities and organisations.
He worked tirelessly for the Labour party and for many years was the NUR branch secretary in Oban. He was made a Justice of the Peace which got him involved in the courts, and on many committees. He helped to get a youth club started in Oban, organising fundraising events such as sponsored walks.
Dunollie benefited when he started the Dunollie Residents Association. For many years very successful discos were held, which raised money that was put back in to the community with Christmas parties and nights held for the elderly, as well as trips to Glasgow to the pantomime.
He joined the community council and through his involvement he worked tirelessly for his community. Anybody who has ever used the steps in the avenue by the Corran Halls up to Dunollie has Kenny to thank. He also helped in the realisation of the Oban War and Peace Museum.
His family grew when Kenneth married Jane. Then June married Eric and Myrette met Charles.
During this time Kenny was blessed with the arrival of grandchildren. Mandy being first in 1981, then Joni in 1986, Martin in 1987 and Lamal in 1993. He enjoyed his grandchildren very much and through their involvement in swimming classes he became involved in Lifesavers at the pool. A keen swimmer all his life he enjoyed teaching the children of Oban. But as usual he ended up running the whole show, from the classes to making sure all involved had a Christmas night out.
In 1992 Kenny retired from the railway after 50 years, but he continued his work in the community.
In 2001 Kenny and Jessie celebrated 50 years of marriage. They decided to go on a cruise and on return to London at their daughter Myrette’s home, Jessie became unwell. Very sadly she passed away. Kenny stood strong for his family and became even busier within the community.
Kenny received an award from the local council for his work in the community, presented to him by Princess Anne during the 200 year celebrations in Oban in 2001. When he met Princess Anne he quipped: ‘Maybe we will make you our Queen if we get Independence in Scotland.’ To which she replied: ‘Maybe we need to check the constitution on that.’
In 2014 he was awarded a long service medal by the Labour party. He received that award in the Corran Halls in Oban at the Scottish Conference. Attending the local sports awards in Oban one night he was surprised when he received an award for his work with Lifesavers.
In 2015 Kenny suffered a stroke which left him needing 24 hour care, and so he went to live at the Lynn of Lorne. In 2015 his first great grandchild Sam was born. Sam gave Kenny much pleasure. His eyes lit up whenever Sam was around.
Many lovely tributes have been paid to the family. One spoke of Kenny being part of the generation that gave us the mental furniture of our lives and his influence and example will live on.
I’d like to finish with a story from Kenneth, a memory from his childhood. One Sunday morning, when the family lived in Alma Crescent, Kenny, Gordon and June came across a boy at the top of High Street who had been sent to get the Sunday papers, but he had dropped them and pages were flying all around.
The poor boy was most upset, sure he would get into trouble. Kenny stopped and gathered up all the pages, put them back in order for him, folded the newspapers neatly and handed them to the boy – I don’t know who he was – he went on his way happy that he hadn’t let his mum and dad down.
Now this is a small thing and Kenny would say that he did what any decent person would do. But that was typical of him – always ready to help in any way he could. For him, his family and his community came first, and we are all his beneficiaries.