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My Brother, John Reekie

John Reekie

John was born in the family home, "The Cross," in Earlsferry on April 18, 1923.  Sad to say, suddenly but peacefully, at age 81 , John left us on September 15, 2004.


John attended Elie Public School from 1928 to 1934 and Waid Academy from 1934 to 1937.  From 1938 to 1945  John worked in the boat building yards of Walter Reekie at St. Monans.  John became highly skilled in every aspect of the construction of heavy North Sea fishing boats and motor-sailers many of which made round the world voyages.  During World War II the boat building yards of Walter Reekie were chartered by the British Admiralty to build wooden hulled minesweepers.  All who worked there were declared, "War Essential Occupation," which meant that for the duration this was your wartime effort and contribution.  One summer John and another fellow boat builder laid the keel of a minesweeper.  Working long hours and six days a week this vessel was launched in almost six months to the day.  A tremendous accomplishment.


Jenny & John 

John and Me


Going to work in St. Monans was the best thing that John ever did for there he met his soul mate for life, Jenny Morris.  From day one, Jenny and John were inseparable and it was a given that they'd marry which they did at the Auld Kirk at St. Monans.  In due time their two children, Tommy and Johnny, were born. Both these two boys were incredible.  From this remote village on the East Coast of Scotland both entered the University's halls of higher learning where both graduated with distinction and the degrees of "Doctorate" in the fields of Chemical Engineering. What parent wouldn't brag.  But bragging wasn't John's style.  John knew what was important and at all times he was a modest man.


After John and Jenny married, John joined his (our) father in the business which became Tom Reekie and Son to make and sell handmade golf clubs and to tutor the game of golf.  This John did for the rest of his working years  Both he and his dad had scratch handicaps and at one time John had a handicap of minus 2.  Both were members of the Professional Golfers Association.  Their pupils thought the world of both of them.


John was also a member of the Earlsferry Thistle Golf Club.  The way John played the game said much about him.  His drive off the tee was indeed poetry in motion.  In a perfect arc, slowly back. When his club became level at the top, hesitate, then with deliberation and in a perfect downward arc, strike the ball, then follow through till the club again became level at the end of the swing. John never forced his club. His perfectly smooth swing and his timing always sent his ball straight down the middle of the fairway like an arrow in flight. 


 John's Advice to the Golfer

 Go slowly back, now mind you try

 On the ball to keep your eye.

 Let clubhead lead, keep doon your heid

 Follow through, the ball will fly.


One thing about John, he had no love for any golfer who after making a bad shot, displayed ill temper, cursed, threw his club on the ground or made any such display of unsportsmanlike conduct.


In time John made a set of golf clubs especially for Jenny.  In short order Jenny mastered the game and soon their home began to fill up with silver trophies that Jenny won.  John and Jenny played the game together for all of their years together.


John had other pastimes.  He beautifully crafted model racing yachts that he sailed at Lochy Keary, the great pool that forms in the bay on the out going tide that's just to the east of the Lady's Tower.  These model racers were pretty big and entirely strip decked and planked. Only the grain of the woods gave away that they weren't made from one great solid piece of wood.  From clay, obtained from the shore where the Cocklemill Burn enters the sea at the East end of Largo Bay at Ruddons Point, John made the moulds and cast the heavy lead keels for his boats.


John also made very fine and sea worthy canoes that I more that once used to voyage far out to sea and around the May Island.


Another of John's pastimes was the making of kites from bamboo and cloth. On windy days he flew these either over the golf course or from the beach, out over the sea, depending on the direction of the wind.  He made one kite so large that in gusts it would lift him off the ground.

He also made balsa wood gliders and model aeroplanes.  In the wintertime he made steel runnered wooden sleds for many of his friends and great was their fun racing down the snow covered hill at Black's Farm near the cliffs.


 John had a special knack and just the right touch for getting lobsters out of the rocks at low tide.  He invariably caused lobsters to swim right into his hand.  It was John who taught me how to do it and showed me the productive ledges and holes.


John loved his garden and the birds.  Each morning doves came to visit and be fed bread crumbs at his back garden door.  One blackbird in particular knew him to the point of being comfortable in entering the house and strutting around until it found him.


John was indeed a wonderful brother.  These are but a few of my remembrances of John.  He now is interred at Kilconquhar where the churchyard overlooks the peaceful loch.  John is gone from us but not really.  I believe he lives on in all who knew him. Two of his favourite songs were, 'Mull of Kintyre' and 'Don't cry for me Argentina'.


April 6th 2010

Tom Adamson of Pittenweem writes,

I recently found your web site and find it very interesting. I have fond memories of being taught the art of golf by your brother John around 1974 or 1975.  For John I picked up millions of balls from off the driving range with a tin can fastened to the end of an old golf shaft for a scoop. For this work I received no pay from John but he gave me golf lessons which was in lieu of pay. The following summer I again picked up the balls from off the driving range and again I received no pay. On mentioning this to my mother she said, "Not to worry--just wait and see." Around the last week of the holidays I went for my weekly golf lesson and hoped that I'd also get some back wages for picking up the balls but none came. However, imagine my surprise when instead of wages what was waiting for me was a brand new set of Tom Reekie golf clubs. I later was to find out that my dad Ken and your brother John, between them, had hatched up this surprise to reward me for my diligence and enthusiasm for my work and my interest in golf.


What I most remember about John, apart from his golfing ability and immense patience, is that he was at all times a proper gentleman.


"Tom, you made my day with this remembrance of John."

Also Peter Thomson in the Ukraine and many others.



John on the right, Noel in the middle.

On David Dunsire's boat, "The Bonny Bay", in Elie Bay.  (David on the left)

Jems took the picture.



John  1923---2004