Obituary: Ethel Jack, 73

Ethel Jack
Ethel Jack
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Ethel Jack, a former university administrator and committed golfer, has died aged 73.

Ethel Jack was born in Edinburgh on January 3, 1939, the younger daughter of George and Ethel Philp of Portobello. After completing her education at St Margaret’s School, she started working for the Institute of Chartered Accountants before moving on to Edinburgh University as an administrative assistant.

Professor Bob Ladd of the Linguistic Department recalls: “Ethel was a memorable presence in the department, where she worked for more than 30 years. Even in an era when department secretaries were generally understood to be the ones who knew the most about how the university really operated, she stood out.”

Another colleague says: “None of her colleagues from those days will ever forget her – and nor, we are sure, will the countless students whose names she infallibly remembered, together with their problems, successes, and complicated life situations. She had a truly remarkable gift for establishing human connections.”

Ethel also made a great impression as a golfer and golf administrator.

When Portobello’s nine-hole course re-opened after the Second World War, all the young boys in seven-year-old Ethel’s circle of friends started to play golf. Realising that she would be left alone she decided to become a golfer too.

Not being able to join her friends at the male enclave of Duddingston, she characteristically solved the situation and “got on her bike” to join Prestonfield on the other side of Holyrood Park.

Her bond with Prestonfield was to continue all her days. She was ladies’ club champion 18 times, ladies’ club captain and, latterly, honorary vice-president, still taking a regular interest in the club long after she had left Edinburgh for East Lothian.

She played in her first British girl’s championship at Woodhall Spa in 1953, and first played for Scotland in 1955 when she was picked for a girls’ Home International match at Beaconsfield.

She had a lot of success in the Midlothian County Team, winning the county championship five times between 1959 and 1990.

She was captain of numerous teams and clubs, including Prestonfield, Longniddry, Gullane Ladies’, Midlothian County and Scottish Vets.

As a golf administrator Ethel also excelled, becoming president of the Scottish Ladies’ Golfing Association from 2007 to 2010.

In 1967, Ethel married Philip Jack at St Philip’s Church, Joppa. Together, they enjoyed lots of laughter and jokes, and shared friendships. Philip died more than ten years ago.

Ethel leaves behind her sister Doris, her nieces Catriona and Suzy, and nephew Graeme.