Tribute paid to Carluke pharmacist Ronnie McPhail

THERE was standing room only at Carluke's Kirkton Church on December 31, as almost 300 friends and family mourned the loss of much-loved former High Street chemist Ronald "Ronnie" McPhail.

His American widow Karen, who first met Ronnie in 1967 when she was a bridesmaid at his cousin's wedding in Michigan, said: "Thanks to everyone who attended Ronnie's funeral and for all the wonderful support they've given."

Born in 1935 and raised in Law, Ronnie attended Law Primary where he won the Dux Medal in 1947.

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After spending the next six years at Wishaw High School, Ronnie went on to study Pharmacy at Strathclyde Technical College and Glasgow University.

During his student years from 1953 to 1957, Ronnie worked on Saturdays at Carluke chemist Hinksman & Forrest to support himself through university.

Ronnie graduated BSc from Glasgow University in 1957. The following year, 1958, he obtained his MPS which enabled him to become a retail pharmacist.

Ronnie's continued work at Hinksman & Forrest was interrupted by a brief interlude to complete his national service in 1959-60 as a sergeant in the RAMC in Germany. While there, he developed an interest in world travel, keeping fit and foreign languages.

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Two years after that initial meeting with Karen, Ronnie married his sweetheart in 1969 and left Hinksman & Forrest to take over the chemist retail shop at 33 High Street, Carluke, which he bought from the late Wm. Dow MPS.

There he remained as owner/proprietor of Ronald McPhail MPS for the next 26 years, until selling up in 1995 and fully retiring in 2000.

'Service Above Self' was Ronnie's motto throughout his 47 years of public service, and his kind, caring and thoughtful manner won him many friends. He was always truly grateful for their loyal support.

Ronnie helped to form Carluke Rotary Club in 1981 and served as its president from 1982 to 1983. He was later made a Paul Harris Fellow.

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Other interests for Ronnie included gardening, beekeeping, photography, classical music (with a special love for Beethoven), quality cars, gourmet cooking and keeping fit.

Over the years he had been waterskiing and horse riding in Spain, mountain climbing in Austria, snow skiing on Glencoe, sailing on Loch Rannoch, parasailing over the Mediterranean, jet skiing in Michigan and pumping iron at the local leisure centre, right up until just a few months ago.

Ronnie was a devoted husband to Karen and a loving father to Elspeth and Jennifer. He is also survived by his brothers Gordon, Colin and David and their families, as well as many relatives both here and in the USA.

In recognition of the love and admiration of his friends and family, and the people of Carluke he served over many years as their local pharmacist, Ronnie was honoured at the Royal Society of Medicine in London on September 26, 2010, by having his name inscribed on the RSM's Wall of Honour.

He will be very sadly missed.

Ronnie's family would greatly appreciate it if anyone reading this could donate money, in Ronnie's name, to St Andrew's Hospice, Henderson Street, Airdrie.