Obituary: Denis Sheldon McGregor Eadie, 98

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A businessman and soldier who fought in the Second World War has died at the age of 98.

Denis Sheldon McGregor Eadie was born in Bridge of Weir, the great-grandson of Peter Eadie, who founded the family engineering business of Eadie Bros & Co Ltd in Paisley, manufacturer of ring travellers for the textile industry.

He was educated locally before joining his elder brother Russell, firstly at St Piran’s prep school, Maidenhead and then at Oundle School, Peterborough.

From there he went up to Trinity College in Cambridge to study mechanical sciences and won a rowing blue stroking the Cambridge crew in the 1938 Boat Race.

After joining the army on the outbreak of the Second World War, following his year at Eadie Bros, he went to the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, trained as a motor contact officer and was posted to Sixth Brigade HQ in France in April 1940 – the day after he had proposed to his sweetheart Isobel Woodsend.

After being Mentioned in Despatches for the first time, he was evacuated from Dunkirk on a destroyer in early June and married Isobel in Paisley Abbey that December, remaining on duties in the UK until April 1942 when he was posted to Burma. On his return, three years and eight months later, he and Isobel were reunited but he was not released from active service until December 1947.

His efforts during the conflict saw him awarded the Military Cross for his bravery and leadership.

Returning to Eadie Bros, he ensured the company, which employed more than 500 staff in its west of Scotland works and Manchester offices, maintained its position as a leader in its field through his various inventions and improvements to the original devices. He finally retired in 1982 on his 65th birthday.

Eadie, who was chairman of textile-associated ISO Standards committees and the West of Scotland TSB as well as a member of the bank’s board, a Paisley Hammerman Deacon and member of the Grocer’s Company, was also a keen supporter of charities, including the Paisley & Glasgow Society.

He had also helped to found Paisley’s Accord Hospice and supported and volunteered for various duties at Paisley Abbey and St Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh.

Throughout his life he maintained a great interest in sport, including fishing and shooting, and had been involved in coaching underprivileged boys in boxing as well as Glasgow University Rowing Club and Commonwealth Games oarsmen.

Isobel died in 1983 after almost 43 years of marriage, and he never thought he could fall in love twice, but in 1991 he married Gillian, with whom he lived very happily in Edinburgh for more than 20 years. He is survived by Gillian and children Brian, Rosemary, Peter and Lucy.