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David Carmichael (1940-2018)

David CarmichaelA civil and geotechnical engineer, with a talent for acting and theatre

Born on 24th September 1940 to David and Jet Carmichael, David was the eldest of three sons. He had two younger brothers, Sandy and Peter.

David went to Belmont Primary School. At an early age his love of acting shone through as he played the female part of Ophelia in Shakespeare’s Hamlet at the age of 10 and Miranda in the Tempest one year later.

He gained a scholarship place to Loretto Boarding School, East Lothian, where he studied a range of subjects, including Latin and Greek, which he said always helped him with crossword answers! David played Rugby and Tennis, and was a Sergeant Major in the Cadets. He was also a keen sailor and, with his Father, won the Plada Cup in Arran.

A respected engineer

David graduated from Glasgow University in June 1966 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering, and pursued a career specialising in soils engineering and foundations. He became a Fellow of the Geological Society in 1985.

David worked on building the Kingston Bridge in Glasgow, which his children thought he had pretty much built himself! They referred to the tunnel lights as ‘Daddy’s lights’!

He worked at management level, managing teams of engineers and sites, and was highly respected. He had over 40 years’ experience in building, civil engineering and latterly geotechnical engineering contracting which involved overall site management of geotechnical projects up to £3 million in value, as well as wide-ranging commercial management experience. David had particular experience in the investigation of old mine workings. He worked with Whatlings Foundation Ltd., Norwest Holst Soil Engineering Ltd., Terra Tek Ltd. and Wimtec Environmental Ltd.

Love of acting

David’s love of acting and the theatre continued. In 1965, he acted in the play ‘Separate Tables’, where he met his wife-to-be, Nora Thomson, and they married in 1968.

As well as working full time, David continued to act with various amateur drama clubs. He turned his hand to directing in 1969. Over 37 years, he directed 16 plays, four pantomimes, 11 musicals, three revues, three light operas and five Grand operas. His production of Bizet’s Carmen, was hailed by the Herald critic as an ‘outstanding success’ with people queuing outside the Kings Theatre for tickets!

David won awards for his directing and had a particular artistic style and attention to detail that made everyone know when it was a ‘David Carmichael’ production. He also wrote two published plays, one of which won a trophy for the best original one-act play for the Scottish Community Drama Association. David got into television acting and played several small parts until he landed the role of Mr Finlay, the divorce lawyer, in High Road.

On 24th September 2018, it would have been David and Nora’s Golden Wedding Anniversary, as well as David’s 78th Birthday. His girls were his life. His wife Nora, his daughter, Heather and his Grandaughter, Amy. He was a loving husband, a wonderful Dad and an amazing Grandad, and all his girls love and miss him very much.

By Heather Carmichael

(The full version of this obituary appears below. Editor.)

David Carmichael (1940-2018)

David CarmichaelBorn on 24th September 1940 to David and Jet Carmichael, David was the eldest of three sons. He had two younger brothers, Sandy and Peter.

David went to Belmont Primary School. At an early age his love of acting shone through as he played the female part of Ophelia in Shakespeare’s Hamlet at the age of 10 and Miranda in the Tempest one year later.

He had a happy childhood with many cherished memories of holidays in Arran.

He gained a scholarship place to Loretto Boarding School, East Lothian, where he studied a range of subjects including Latin and Greek, which he said always helped him with crossword answers!

He played Rugby and Tennis, and was also a Sergeant Major in the Cadets. He was a keen sailor and, with his Father, won the Plada Cup in Arran with their boat, called Vicki, who apart from his Mum was the only other girl in the family. David also played the clarinet and his solo of Mozart’s concerto in A was recorded by the school.

David graduated from Glasgow University in June 1966 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering, and pursued a career specialising in soils engineering and foundations. He became a Fellow of the Geological Society in 1985.

David worked on building the Kingston Bridge in Glasgow, which his children thought he had pretty much built himself! They referred to the tunnel lights as ‘Daddy’s lights’!

He worked at management level, managing teams of engineers and sites, and was highly respected. He had over 40 years’ experience in building, civil engineering and latterly geotechnical engineering contracting which involved overall site management of geotechnical projects up to £3 million in value, as well as wide-ranging commercial management experience. David had particular experience in the investigation of old mine workings. He worked with Whatlings Foundation Ltd., Norwest Holst Soil Engineering Ltd., Terra Tek Ltd. and Wimtec Environmental Ltd.

David’s love of acting and the theatre continued, however. When he was a student, he joined Giffnock Theatre Players. In 1965, he was a background actor in the play ‘Separate Tables’ where he met his wife to be, Nora Thomson and they married in 1968.

David and Nora started married life in Bishopbriggs and then, after a few years, moved to Giffnock.

As well as working full time, David continued to act with various amateur drama clubs, with one of his highlights being playing Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady at the Kings Theatre in Glasgow. He also played the part of ‘God’ in a touring production of ‘The Mystery Plays’.

David turned his hand to directing in 1969. Over 37 years, he directed 16 plays, four pantomimes, 11 musicals, three revues, three light operas and five Grand operas. His production of Bizet’s Carmen, was hailed by the Herald critic as an ‘outstanding success’ with people queuing outside the Kings Theatre for tickets!

David won awards for his directing and had a particular artistic style and attention to detail that made everyone know when it was a ‘David Carmichael’ production. He also wrote two plays that were published, one of which, ‘If the Slipper Fits’, won a trophy for the best original one-act play for the Scottish Community Drama Association.

David and Nora moved to Strathaven in 1989 and then five years later to Stonehouse, where they lived for 27 years. David got into television acting and played several small parts until he landed the role of Mr Finlay, the divorce lawyer, in High Road.

David used his directing experience to work with the Machan Trust writing and directing 12 short Anti-Sectarian plays based on stories written by Primary 7 pupils from ten South Lanarkshire Schools, which were performed to an invited audience. Three plays were included in the National Theatre of Scotland’s internet Five Minute Theatre project, with one being selected for recording at STV studios.

David wrote and directed the play ‘Grandad’s Christmas Story’, which was performed at Avondale Church in Strathaven and St Ninian’s Parish Church in Stonehouse. He became very involved in the community of Stonehouse becoming Chairman of the Stonehouse Development Trust. In 2017, David and Nora were honoured to attend the Garden Party at the Palace of Holyrood House.

When computers came out, David taught himself how to use them and went on to do website design and have his own company, Garrion Internet Services.
On 24th September 2018, it would have been David and Nora’s Golden Wedding Anniversary as well as his 78th Birthday. His girls were his life. His wife Nora, his daughter, Heather and his Grandaughter, Amy. He was a loving husband, a wonderful Dad and an amazing Grandad, and all his girls love and miss him very much.

By Heather Carmichael