A much loved husband, father and grandpa.
Dad was the youngest of four sons born to George and Eveline Pollock; Robert was the eldest, followed by George and John. Sadly George died as an infant and John died at 21, gradually becoming paralysed after suffering from what we believe was encephalitis. Despite this, Dad looked back on his childhood as a happy time and often spoke of the adventures he got up to with his school mates.
Dad was always interested in wheeled transport, as this early picture shows. Throughout his life he owned and rode many motorbikes and travelled all around Europe on them.
In 1957, he met Doreen, my Mum, brought together by a mutual liking for crosswords. I was often amazed how easily he could find the right answer to obscure and tortuous clues and used to tease him that it was because he had a twisted and devious mind. This picture was taken on 23rd August 1958, their wedding day.
Dad left school as soon as he was able to, at 16, but never stopped learning. He was one of the most knowledgeable people I ever met and happily shared that knowledge with my brother and me. Kids today have Wikipedia and Google to help with their homework, we had Dad! He explained maths and physics to me far better than my teachers ever could, but had to admit defeat when it came to music. I don’t remember what he was talking about in this picture but it was probably something to do with engineering. His vast memory banks full of all kinds of facts made him a tough opponent during games of our family favourite: Trivial Pursuit; most of the answers he gave to the Geography questions would be followed with “We’ve been there” – a reflection of the life-long of travel that he and Mum shared. The only continent he hadn’t visited was Antarctica.
This next picture was taken on board a cruise-ship, somewhere in the Baltic or North Sea as they celebrated their Golden Wedding anniversary in typical fashion – travelling. During their retirement Mum and Dad went on many cruises, the last one being in 2011 when Dad was 87. He would often complain that the cruise ships, although very comfortable, were “full of old people”, conveniently forgetting that he fitted right into that same category.
The last few years had seen Dad struggling to get around due to problems with his knees, which he believed were caused by all those years of riding motorbikes in all weathers with little or no protection from the cold. I remember him getting home from work in the winter with icicles in his beard. Despite these difficulties, he continued to enjoy life and liked nothing more than to have visits from his granddaughters and chat away about any subject under the sun. He was always a good listener and would offer advice in a gentle way, never judging or belittling.
Dad was a master of understatement and restraint so on the rare occasions that he gave compliments, they were definitely worth having – a quiet “hmmm, very good” from Dad meant so much more than flowery, overblown phrases from others because you knew he really meant it.
Four weeks ago, Dad had funny turn at home and was taken to hospital. It was thought that he had a urinary infection and was kept in overnight for further observations. The following morning, when I phoned to find out whether he would be able to come home that day, as we’d been told, the nurse explained that he had been “quite poorly” overnight and had apparently developed pneumonia. Two days later, we were told that the consultant had decided against any further active treatment as the trauma would be too much for him, so palliative care was started. On Sunday 27th September, surrounded by his family and an enormous amount of love, he slipped peacefully away.
We are all devastated and my lovely Dad has left a huge hole in our lives that no-one will ever be able to fill.
Dad’s funeral took place last Friday and the whole family was greatly touched by the number of his old friends and work colleagues, some of whom he had not seen for over 50 years, who turned out to pay their last respects. He was a kind, caring gentle man of quiet dignity, who made a deep impact on those he knew and he will be greatly missed.