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Sunday 30 October 2016

John Gordon Macintyre, Nairn - Obituary

J Gordon Macintyre
5 October 1931 - 25 September 2016

Rest in Peace

Always known as "J Gordon Macintyre", Gordon Macintyre was a flamboyant and eccentric, but hugely likeable fixture of Nairn (and beyond in certain circles) for many decades. I first met Gordon soon after I came to live in Nairn in September 2000, as I was invited by one of my new neighbours to join her as a guest at a chamber music concert at Clifton House, which it so happens is just around the corner from where I now live, and immediately joined the Nairn Performing Arts Guild (NPAG), a registered charity run by him and which organised chamber music recitals, plays and readings of various kinds. I remained a member until NPAG was succeeded by Music Nairn, when Gordon and his wife, Muriel, decided to move from their long-term home and business at Clifton House (run for many years as a quirky and wonderful small hotel and restaurant, until a few years before they moved), as they now wished to 'retire', to a new home just outside Nairn at Geddes.

From the word go I seemed to 'click' with Gordon - I liked him a lot and I think that feeling was reciprocated. He was an unusual and rather eccentric man, specially when compared with his rather more down-to-earth, fiercely intelligent and occasionally 'waspish' wife Muriel. But Gordon was of course in his own way a practical businessman too, running their hotel and restaurant business very successfuly in his own inimitable and flamboyant way. Muriel sadly passed away some years ago, in June 2009. Gordon was always immaculately and often colourfully attired, often sporting one of his extensive collection of bow-ties or cravates; even in his later declining years, though his attention to the detail of his wardrobe perhaps had slipped a little, he still managed to look smart and certainly always stood out from the crowd in whichever gathering he found himself. I count myself fortunate to have known Gordon, albeit only in the later stages of his life - it made settling in to my new home in Nairn so much more pleasurable.

It so happens I was away at my holiday home in Spain for a month from toward the end of September, as it turns out just a few days after his demise, which I had not heard about when I left for Spain. However, he had telephoned me about a week prior to this (I think therefore only three or four days before before his death) to ask me to postpone a visit to his home that we had been talking about, as he was feeling 'off-colour', saying that he would contact me when he was feeling a bit better. In the light of his death so soon after the call, I now think he was probably telephoning, consciously or unconsciously, to say 'goodbye'. It so happens his obituary was in our local weekly newspaper, The Nairnshire Telegraph (no online presence) only this week, in the issue dated Tuesday 25th October, a month after his death, whereas his obituary in The Scotsman was published only a few days before that on 20th October (read it here), to which it bears a certain similarity, so it is possible his family had deliberately kept his death low-key for the first month, it being inconceivable to me that it would not have been written about sooner, specially in our local newspaper, otherwise.

In any case, I am very saddened to learn of Gordon's death. I am just grateful that I had the pleasure of knowing him and for his friendship.


  1. I'm still so sad to hear of Gordon's passing. My friend and I had the pleasure to spend three days at Clifton House in early 2001 and had an incredible time with Gordon and Muriel—and the delicious meals cooked-up by their son.
    That's my photo at the top of your post and it was such a fun day to take pictures of Gordon, who seemed born to be viewed.

  2. Yes, he was a lovely man whom I still miss. There was a very nice concert in his honour about a year after his death, partly to celebrate the publication by his daughter of a very nice book celebrating his life, called "Clifton House Cook Book", based largely I think on notes left by Gordon himself. Your photo certainly captured the 'joie de vivre' which all who knew him found such an attractive feature of his character.


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