Obituary - Ex Deacon Harry Wylie

Obituary - Ex Deacon Harry Wylie 

Ex Deacon Harry Wylie, a sixth generation and oldest member of the Craft, has died at the age of 103. He joined the Incorporation of Skinners in 1935 becoming Deacon in 1967. Never losing interest in the work of the Skinners his last appearance was at the Choosing Dinner in 2012 telling us about his first dinner with 13 courses each with its separate wine in the North British Hotel. He was pleased that his son in law, Tom Gilchrist, supported by his daughter Anne, was Deacon Convener in 2004 for the Trades House of Glasgow's 400th anniversary.

Teaching mathematics in Glasgow Schools he joined the Scottish Mathematics Group and produced the book 'Modern Mathematics for Schools'. This was the text book which changed the way mathematics was taught. Discipline in his classes, and then in schools, was not a significant problem.

Harry WylieIn a note to his staff at City Public School he said: "We should, by every possible means, attempt to create more enthusiasm, more pride in our school, more interest in the school and in the world outside. If we can achieve this, problems of discipline will disappear except for a few who need special psychological treatment."

He rented a farm and took staff and children from school each Saturday. They all worked together on the farm and went for walks looking for birds and animals never seen in towns. The barriers between teachers and pupils were broken down. His philosophy of education was very much ahead of his time. He called his philosophy 'The Art of Living'. His interest was in educating the whole child and not just delivering the academic aspects. He was promoted to Head Teacher at City Public School in Townhead, where he developed a pilot for comprehensive education. This was adopted for all schools. His final school was Govan High where he was given the task of integrating four schools into a new building. Four turbulent years later he retired with the job done.

Always keen on rowing, first for the University of Glasgow and then Glasgow schools rowing on the Clyde at Glasgow Green, he maintained his fitness by daily exercise on his rowing machine until a few months before he died.  He is survived by his daughter Anne, granddaughters Judith and Yvonne and great granddaughters Becky and Molly Thomson, and Katie and Lucy Imrie.

Always searching for something significant to do, he played a full part in everything he did throughout his long life.