Describe your parents & grandparents, what were they like, what did you learn from them?
I was born in England in the house where my grandparents and my parents lived. They were loving towards me and each other and i have happy memories of going on walks and “helping” my grandfather in his big garden. My sister was born two years after myself and my Dad decided it was time to be in a house of our own. We then moved by horse and cart to our own home just a short distance away when I was 3. Six months later the war started, but for me and friends nothing much seemed to change because most of the fathers were coal miners which was an essential occupation. We did know though that some people were suffering when families from Liverpool and London came to stay with my grandparents and with us.
What was your greatest challenge you overcame & how?
My Dad taught me early to respect and value people for who they were, not because of title, social rank, skin colour. He was a generous, compassionate man who always tried to help others. He was a coal miner in the ‘20s, ‘30s and ‘40s and times were hard and so materially he had very little but we were much loved and were wealthy in that sense.
Something not a lot of people would know about you?
I knew when I was 11 years old that I wanted to be a chemist .I was fortunate in that I learned easily and quickly and so was able to go to the local Grammar School and then with my parents’ sacrificial encouragement I went to university, did a degree, and then a PhD in Chemistry in London and then went to do research in the USA.
What did you do for work? what was this experience like?
On returning from the USA I worked for a while with Kodak on non-silver light sensitive materials and then went on to teach at a high school in Kenya, shortly after independence. We spent seven wonderful, memorable years there and 2 children were born to us. We still have contacts and friends from that beautiful country. Some of the best students I have taught were from Kenya and one became a Professor of Chemistry in Nairobi.
After Kenya we returned to England for 3 years and then came to Canada in 1974. I enjoyed 27 years teaching chemistry here, the last 25 at Upper Canada College. I miss my classes but still did some tutoring until moving to Waterloo two years ago. So age has not affected that.
What’s something you’ve wanted to do but haven’t to date?
In spite of all the years in Canada I still cannot skate!! My three year old grandson explained and demonstrated how to do that. In vain.
What is your hope for future generations? What advice would you give to them?
My advice for them and future generations is what my mother taught me…”Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.” Prov 3:5-6
What are you most proud of?
My family, our children, grandchildren are what I am proud of.