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OBITUARY: Flood of tributes after death of Graham Munro, former principal teacher of modern languages at Dingwall Academy

By Scott Maclennan

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Graham Munro, former head of modern languages at Dingwall Academy.
Graham Munro, former head of modern languages at Dingwall Academy.

Hundreds of people have expressed their sadness at news of the death of Graham Munro, the former head of modern languages at Dingwall Academy.

He died at the age of 86 following a short illness.

Mr Munro’s daughter Claire wrote in an online post: “Our dear Dad Graham passed away in the early hours of this morning. Loved father, grandfather, cousin and friend.”

She added: “Catriona and I are saddened by the loss of our Dad, and really touched by the many messages of wishes and support.”

The outpouring online alone has been huge with more than 330 people interacting with the posts confirming the sad news with many paying tribute to him being “a character” well known for his wit.

But he is warmly remembered by former pupils and colleagues, amongst them former headteacher of Dingwall Academy, and current councillor, Graham Mackenzie, who encountered Mr Munro not just at school but also the golf course.

He said: “He was someone who was synonymous with inspirational teaching and he was definitely a character with a tremendous sense of humour who will be sorely missed.”

His successor as head of the department, Julia Mackintosh, described him as “giant of a man,” saying she will miss “his great warmth, his constant support, his sharp wit and his formidable intellect”.

“Graham Munro came from Fortrose Academy to Dingwall as Principal Teacher of Modern Languages, presiding over a lively and thriving department, until his retirement in 1995,” she said.

“Teaching at a time when languages occupied a more prominent role in the curriculum, Graham proved to be a prodigiously gifted teacher and a superb linguist in French and Russian, who inspired his many pupils, a considerable number of whom would go on to study languages at university.

“Graham’s wife Sheena shared his love of modern languages and was herself principal teacher at Fortrose Academy before assuming the role of adviser for Highland Region. They enjoyed a long and happy retirement until Sheena’s death in November 2020.

“Graham delighted in regaling his pupils with elaborate stories, of which he had a seemingly endless supply, permitting himself full artistic licence to enhance the details to improve the narrative.

“Guaranteed to enliven any lesson, these tales cemented his reputation as a great raconteur. His ultra-dry sense of humour was legendary, as were his quick wit and super intelligence.

“Pupils held him in great affection, and deep respect, in the knowledge that any pupil perceived as crossing the line would be sure to receive a withering rebuke.

“As Head of Department, Graham was exceptionally loyal to his staff, always willing to fight their corner, when the need arose, and striving to make their working environment a happy one.

“When I first arrived at Dingwall Academy as a young teacher from Grantown Grammar, I was quite overawed by the sheer size of the school. On my appointment, Graham assured me of his full and unstinting support and true to his word he delivered just that.

“I served my apprenticeship as Assistant Principal Teacher to Graham, succeeding him in the post of Principal Teacher in 1995, when he reached his well-deserved retirement.

“Graham was a Dingwall boy through and through, who would converse with anyone, from any walk of life. Whilst he did not suffer fools gladly, he always knew instinctively when tolerance and forbearance were called for.

“Graham was an independent thinker, who expressed many informed opinions on a great variety of topics. He had many interests beyond Modern Languages. In particular he was as skilled in the art of bridge as he was an excellent tennis player. He also took a keen interest in gardening. His was indeed a full-life well-lived.

“There are many – staff, pupils, parents and friends alike – who will rush to join me in paying tribute to the giant of a man that was Graham Munro.

“They will be saddened at the passing of an inspirational teacher, who made a lasting contribution to their lives and destinies, and to the teaching of Modern Languages at Dingwall Academy.

“I, for one, will miss his great warmth, his constant support, his sharp wit and his formidable intellect.”

Apart from Mr Munro’s own family and friends, he is very fondly remembered by those lucky enough to find themselves in his classes, and he was almost always spoken of in terms of being “the best teacher” even many years later.

His funeral will be held at 1pm on Friday, June 24 in Fortrose and Rosemarkie Church of Scotland in Rosemarkie, therefater to Fortrose and Rosemarkie New Cemetery.

Family flowers only are requested. Donations in memory of Graham towards the Highland Hospice may be given at the door.

RELATED: Black Isle teacher and pillar of community Sheena Munro honoured with show of respect in Fortrose

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