Sunday, 7 March 2021

The Death of Lady Marjory MacSween - A golfing Tribute

It is with great sadness that I have to announce the sudden death of Lady Marjory MacSween (nee Brown) who was well known to many in the West of Scotland golfing circles and beyond. 

Marjory was brought up in Strathaven, attended Hamilton Academy and was School Captain.  Although she was very sporty and was Captain of the hockey team, she was also very clever and went on to study medicine at Glasgow University.

It was there that she met Roddy MacSween a fellow medical student and married him in 1961.

Marjory became a dermatologist and like her husband was a fine golfer, and supported him in all his professional activities.

She also had a great love of Kintyre with the MacSween cottage in Southend which they restored from an old ruined cottage.

She had a special friendship with Scotland’s Belle Robertson (Dunaverty, Troon Ladies and Dunbartonshire and Argyll Ladies' County Golf Association), Jennifer Mack (Renfrewshire Ladies’ County Golf Association)  and also with Isabel Crawford (SLGA and Ayrshire Ladies’ County Golf Association) who all had known her for many years and enjoyed holidays down in Southend, Kintyre.

She had a very interesting life and had many friends world-wide. She was devoted to her husband and son Gordon and daughter Ruth - all golfers of course! - and to her five grandchildren 2 in Canada and 3 in England. 

She was a  member of Dunaverty, The Ladies Golf Club Troon, Past member of East Renfrewshire Golf Club where she was Ladies’ Captain in 1985 and Strathaven Golf Club where she was Ladies' Captain in 1976

She was also an active past member of Renfrewshire Ladies’ County Golf Association. 

She played in the West of Scotland Greenlees Team,  a past Greenlees Team Captain 

and a Past Ladies’ Captain of Dunaverty. 

She won many trophies and her biggest highlight of her golfing career was reaching the final of the Renfrewshire Ladies’ County Championship in 1999 played over Whitecraigs Golf Club. She played Donna Jackson on that day and although she lost was amazed and so very proud to have made such an achievement.

From the RLCGA General Meeting Minutes (3rd November 1999).

The Captain’s AGM Report stated:

The Championship was played at Whitecraigs amidst snow storms.  Dr Marjory MacSween stormed her way to the final beating shell-shocked county team members on the way.  In the final against Donna Jackson, Donna played like a true champion but credit goes to Marjory who did not go down without a fight.

Some Tributes 

Jennifer Mack (Haggs Castle, Troon Ladies, Dunaverty)

Marjory and I first met in the late 50's when we were both holidaying in Southend, Kintyre.  Marjory's father Dr Brown had a caravan just over the wall from Jock McVicar's house. Jock has been a close friend of the family for many years.   

Isabel Crawford was also a regular at that time as she had relations living in Southend.    I then found myself working for Marjory in the mid 60's when she was in the Dermatology Department of the Western Infirmary.   I admired her enormously as she seemed to cope with so many things and was super-efficient in all aspects of her life.     Over the years we played countless games of golf over Dunaverty, a course very dear to both of us.  Marjory was a very down to earth person and a wonderful source of information about so many things.    She was great at telling a story and it was always interspersed with humour.    

She was extremely proud of her children and grandchildren who so loved spending time with their 'Granny Mac'!    

In the words of her daughter in law, she was so bright, bubbly, caring and never complained in spite of her many health issues.       

She will be sorely missed by all who knew her.’.

Sallie Harkness (Haggs Castle, Troon Ladies) 

Marjory joined the Saturday (old) Girls playing at Troon and we also would play on Wednesdays. If the weather was poor we usually went for lunch at Parklands or Loks or the Orchard Park. Marjory was great company whether on the golf course or at the lunch table. She loved Troon but was before a member at East Renfrewshire Golf Club 

In recent years Marjory was attending the Victoria for regular blood transfusions but she did not let her illness get her down and continued with golf when she could. She was still driving her car, busy in the kitchen and garden and keeping in touch via the internet using  FaceTime, Zoom and e-mails.

It’s hard to believe that she is no longer with us for her departure was very sudden. We all miss her for we shall not see her like again.

Isabel Crawford (Ayrshire Ladies’ County Golf Association) 

I had known Marjory for over 60 years!

We holidayed at Southend in July, Marjory in August … her caravan was always parked at the end of Dunaverty beach to be near Angus and Jean MacVicar (their son Jock, became the long-time renowned Scottish Daily Express golf journalist)

They were great friends and Marjory and her sister Anne were often to be found in Achnamara for a wee bit of home baking while their father fished in the local rivers and lochs.

It was really that association that encouraged both Marjory and Roddy to play golf.

It was Angus MacVicar who encouraged Marjory to play and they had many keenly fought rounds over Dunaverty.

Marjory loved Southend and thoroughly enjoyed being there with her family … she was a very welcoming hostess, extremely kind to many local events and to villagers and took pleasure in keeping up with all village news and gossip !

Her zest for life, her lovely sense of fun and humour, and her keen interest in folk in Kintyre made her a popular semi local !

Her influence will be felt in this part of the world for many years

Carol Fell (Renfrewshire Ladies’ County Golf Association)

I met Marjory through East Renfrewshire Golf Club and playing County Golf. 

Roddy’s end of life care in 2015 was in Mearnskirk Hospital in Newton Mearns as was my mothers. Marjory and I used to chat on numerous occasions and even at these sad times she did make me laugh. I remember one day looking out of Mum’s bedroom window and seeing  Marjory’s daughter Ruth and her new husband on their wedding day, the sun shining and all the family sitting with Roddy out in the hospital gardens — It was such a special day for them all. 

She was a very special person and will be missed by so many including all those from RLCGA that knew her so well

Anne Jamieson (Strathaven Golf Club Ladies Section) - Marjory joined as member in 1956 and was Ladies' Captain on 1976. She played in our annual Past Captains’ Competition until a few years ago and regular visited the club with her sister Anne until lockdown. She will be fondly remembered by those who all knew her.

Donna Jackson (RLCGA and Troon Ladies)

Marjory was a lovely lady, and so sorry to hear the sad news — and I do remember that County Championship final at Whitecraigs played in the snow — which brought it all back !! Always enjoyed a wee chat when down at Troon playing on a Saturday with the Saturday Girls.

From the Glasgow Herald  Isabel Dawson said -- We remember her with real affection, it is only a few weeks since she addressed the haggis for us at our Lunch and Social Club for people living with dementia, using the Burns book presented to her mother at Glasgow High School 100 years ago. Marjory had been a committed volunteer at the club for many years. As we remembered her it was with thankfulness for the fun and laughter she brought into our lives

GLASGOW HERALD --- MACSWEEN - Lady Marjory With heavy hearts we announce the sudden passing of Lady Marjory MacSween. Wife of the late Professor Sir Roddy MacSween, irreplaceable mother of Ruth and Gordon, mother-in-law to Graeme and Jo, beloved Granny Mac to grandchildren Ben, Tess, Jamie, Sammy and Alex, she will be missed by all. She was a true force of nature in her time, and those who knew her will miss her joie de vivre, her soup, her baking, and her general enthusiasm for all things, especially family, friends, golf, and garden. Determined, strong, competitive, witty, and sharp as a tac to the end, her legendary putt-sinking, card-sharpening and crossword-solving skills and her utterly indomitable spirit will live on for some time, we suspect. A fitting Celebration of Life will be held at a later date - Ruth and Gordon will confirm when lock down allows   


From Gordon MacSween (Son)

Just to say thanks to you all for contributing to this fantastic tribute to Mum - both in writing it and creating the stories themselves! 
 I remember Mum calling in after each round of the Renfewshire Ladies' County Championships with another scalp for team MacSween - one of the many things she did that continue to inspire me and her grandchildren. 
 These stories are so heartwarming to hear, and we're looking forward to more when we can all meet to celebrate Mum's life - hopefully in September.