Russell Rodger: a tribute

GENERATIONS of former pupils of both Carluke High School and Lanark Grammar School were shocked and saddened by the death of Russell Rodger on Monday.

Born to a working family in Cleland in 1939, he rose to become one of the most respected educational figures in Clydesdale in the second half of the 20th century.

After attending his village primary school and then Wishaw High School, he graduated from Glasgow University.

Before teacher training at Jordanhill College, he worked briefly at the Philips Electrical factory in Hamilton.

He joined the staff of Lanark Grammar where his obvious talents for teaching and leadership soon saw him promoted to principal teacher of physics.

This was followed by his appointment to assistant head teacher and then depute rector.

He seemed the obvious choice when, in 1975, the new Carluke High School was built and required a person with exceptional talents to be the first rector.

It was a mark of how well Russell Rodger fostered in that new era for education in Carluke that he was to remain in that post until his retirement 21 years later.

It was typical of the man that he did not slip away quietly into retirement but used his final rector's address to attack modern parental attitudes to both their children and education, claiming that they had "abdicated all responsibility for their children's actions".

It was a blast he repeated in his retirement interview with the Gazette, stating that he felt many parents now regarded school as "a daytime child-minding service."

Needless to say, Russell Rodger was not content to lead a quiet retirement; indeed, he threw himself into a whole new range of activities.

He joined the management of his beloved Motherwell Football Club, serving as general manager through a sticky financial period.

He was a leading light in setting up Lanarkshire's first independent radio stations and took a hand, with John Swinburne, in the formation of the Senior Citizens Unity Party in 2003.

He lived in Braidwood and latterly in Lanark. Russell died peacefully at home on Monday.

His funeral will be held at St Nicholas Church, Lanark on Monday, September 6 at 2.30pm. to which all friends are invited by his wife Sheila and the family.

Tributes are now pouring in for Russell Rodger, which will appear in next week's Carluke and Lanark Gazette.

Please submit your tribute to [email protected] or post it on this site for possible inclusion in next week's paper.