Obituary for My Father
Dad (known by almost everyone as Bill) was born in Hinckley, Leicestershire on 04 February 1939 and was christened William Ernest FOX (his father’s name)
When Dad was two his father drowned, and so was brought up my his Mum Hilda (known as “H”) in rural poverty, initially staying in an alms house, for which privilege his mother had to scrub the stone floors of the church on her hands and knees. Dad was no fan of the church or organised religion. The family had moved to Dorset, and Dad with his younger brother Dick went to school in Lyme Regis. He was a fast runner, running the mile for the County and setting a school record.
He acquired a stepfather, Jack SMITH, and then another brother (Nick). Dad later combined the names FOX and SMITH and the FOX-SMITH family name was created.
Aged 16, Dad left home and went to Navigation school in Plymouth, and then joined the merchant Navy:-
For six years he travelled the World visiting the US, China, Japan and Cuba amongst other Countries. In Cuba, he was arrested and spent a night in prison. It’s a bit unclear what offence he had allegedly committed, or how he came to be released, but it was a typical escapade for Dad who loved adventure. Dad’s brother Nick has a memory of watching their mother putting pins in a world map on the kitchen wall every time they received a card from a country Dad visited when at sea.
Dad’s Mum died when he was still at sea. He was not able to return for the funeral. Over 30 years later he found a “memory box” with some keepsakes and mementoes from his sea-faring days. Not realising what it was, he began reading aloud the letter he had received from his brother Dick which broke the news of their mother’s death,and it moved him to tears. It was the only time I ever saw him cry.
Dad met Mum (Sylvia) in July 1964 and they were married in Wembury Church on 05/10/1966.
His first “land” job was selling encyclopaedias, and then he worked with Mintex (a Company selling brake and clutch linings) as a salesman and later as manager of the Plymouth depot.
He had been framing pictures- self taught – as a hobby, and now became self-employed doing that professionally.
He had also formed an interest in silhouettes, which he began collecting and became something of an expert. (He later became involved in the Silhouette Club)
Eventually he opened his shop on Southside Street, The Barbican, selling antique maps and prints. The shop “Foxsmith Galleries” was open for 20 years, and eventually closed in 2006.
Dad was renowned for his honesty and good business ethics, never broke his word or a contract, and had great integrity. His word was his bond, and most deals were done on a handshake. He disliked debt, and was beholden to nobody. He worked hard, and in order to provide for his family, put business before pleasure.
Dad loved antiques and fine art, good company and good wine.
He enjoyed classical music, which could always be heard in the basement at home where he was framing pictures, or in the shop.
He had a great sense of humour, and a good sense of adventure. He loved sailing and wind-surfing, but was equally happy to try his hand at anything adventurous from para-gliding to stock car racing to bungee-jumping.
Dad didn’t tolerate fools gladly, and disliked snobbery and pretentiousness.
He hated hypocrisy. He had no airs and graces and could mix easily in any company.
He had a wide circle of friends. Most of all he loved his family. There were three children- myself Mark (below left) and Naomi (below right)
Mum and Dad first lived in a small bungalow in Staddiscombe (near Plymstock) and then moved to Alfred Street on Plymouth Hoe.
We holidayed as children in Butlins, and many years later in France,catching the ferry from Plymouth to Roscoff and driving to a campsite.
Sadness at Dads death is tempered by the happiness that he was released from the hell of his last few years. Sadly, in truth we lost Dad a few years before his passing to the cruel disease of Alzheimer’s, the early onset of which robbed him of a peaceful retirement.
Dad was a towering figure for me, and an important influence on my life.
He was there for my significant birthdays, my graduation, was a witness at my wedding, and once came to see me advocating in Court. I inherited or learned from him some qualities that have stood me in good stead as a defence lawyer-a sense of fairness, and an innate sympathy for the underdog.
I admired him very much, and am sorry that his early departure deprived his grandchildren of spending time with him, and he with them.
Dad had a great love of board games.
He taught me chess. We played for years and years before I won a game. Dad wasn’t one to let you win. But at least when I eventually did, I knew it was on merit. Winning at chess was a major surprise to me. Like many boys, I believed my father invincible, and not just in chess.
As a family we also enjoyed board games, particularly Monopoly and Risk, which were extremely competitive but riotous fun.
I played as a child , but was aware if friends or family were staying that games would continue after I was dispatched to bed
Then the drinks would come out, and the games were a backdrop to anecdotes, stories and jokes, with the roar of raucous laughter. These are amongst the memories that we will cherish.
In Memory of William Foxsmith RIP (04.02.41- 10.03.14)
The family were grateful for the many condolence cards, supportive messages, anecdotes and photos sent to the family.
“A vibrant and infectious zest for life (Nigel F.)
entertaining, knowledgable and fun to be around” (Matt Tiller)
He ran his business so well,always kind and courteous”(Jenni)
“No-one will forget Bill” (Vanessa J)
“Our hearts are sore at the passing of our dear friend Bill. We will always value our friendship” (Gerry and Malcolm)
“I held the most tremendous admiration for Bill,his humour, stories, knowledge and skills….” (Simon B.)
“we are surrounded by memories of Bill as there isn’t a room in the house that hasn’t either a picture from the Gallery or framed by Bill” (Jane and John Green)
“This card (pictured below) shows one of the many precious prints which adorn my walls and which Bill found for me”
“a wonderful entertaining host!” (Viv and Brian)
“A lovely human being, a delightful neighbour and friend with a great sense of fun and generosity of spirit” (Elaine and Adrian)
“Bill was a fantastic man.” (Sarah and Tony)
“Bill was a delight to work for”
“The spirit which he evoked-one of friendship, challenge and investigation” (John Pickles)
Ros offered these lines from Shakespeare (Anthony to Cleopatra):-
the miserable change now at my end
Lament nor sorrow at,
But please your thoughts
In feeding them with these my former fortunes
An anecdote from Malcolm and Gerry:- “Bill loved sailing in Plymouth Sound after work. One evening the tide and wind took him into Mountbatten Pier, and as he had stayed out until the last minute, it had become dark and he had no choice but to land. At that time it was private, R.A.F. property, with landing prohibited. He somehow found the Officer’s Mess and entered in his wet suit [just like James Bond] and persuaded them he was not a spy. He finished at the bar with a pint telling them of his adventures!”
“We are both very sad to hear of the death of your Dad, a great friend of mine and someone I admired very much.” (Richard Walker)
David McIntosh, criminal defence solicitor and freelance advocate sadly passed away on 3rd February.
I first met David when I started as an Articled Clerk at Edward Fail Bradshaw and Waterson, where David was already a solicitor having completed his articles there a few years earlier. Twenty years later I was Junior Counsel in a case being led by David, He was a great Advocate, and a wonderful person.
Both of us had completed our criminal training at EFBW under partner Eddie Preston, who writes the following:-
“David McIntosh was born on the 13 October 1962. In August 1989 he wrote to EFBW to inquire as to Articles to commence in September 1990 and his letter of application refers to a “substantial commitment to legally aided work”. He maintained that commitment throughout his professional life.
At his interview on the 21 September 1989 he made it clear that he “wanted to be an advocate”. He was physically tall and imposing, always an asset for an advocate!
We soon found him to be a kind individual, GSOH, with a splendid “bedside manner”. David was Articled to John Lafferty (now HH Judge Lafferty at Snaresbrook Crown Court). He did his first 12 months in the criminal law department, with Edward Preston. Thereafter he did litigation, and conveyancing. Having completed his Articles in September 1992, David was appointed assistant solicitor, specialising in criminal law, and remained with the firm until he left in December 1995 to take up a position with Moss & Co.
Subsequently David joined the firm of Buxton Ryan in Essex. Mary Buxton had been an employee at EFBW, Gary Ryan also having been an Articled Clerk at EFBW.
Prior to commencing his Articles David had substantial experience working as a homeless person adviser for the London Borough of Camden (1986-1988). He volunteered as a night shelter worker at Centre Point for an extended period of time, and was also the NALGO shop steward for the Homeless Persons Unit. He was a member of the Homelessness Action Group, and thus over a lengthy period of time had a substantial commitment to assisting the homeless in London. He was also on a number of committees in support of homelessness.
After David started in the criminal department at EFBW it was noticed that he had a tremendous capacity to “dig up” unusual facts and features about a case – hardly surprising in view of the fact that he had studied medieval archaeology at University College London as an undergraduate. He completed the CPE before joining EFBW.
He was a great friend to all at EFBW and remained so throughout his professional career. He remained totally committed to legal aid work, and went on to successfully achieve his aim of being a busy, successful, hardworking advocate, not only in the Magistrates’ Court, but, of course, later in the Crown Court as HRA. He was highly regarded as an advocate by both Tribunals. He maintained throughout his life his interest in archaeology, and foreign travel and had only recently completed an extensive trip in the Far East.”
In recent years he was working as a consultant and advocate with Evans Bissett solicitors. Pip Evans and Claire Bissett write:-
David died suddenly on his beloved boat, whilst working on his latest Old Bailey trial. He was 52.
David studied archaeology at UCL, and after graduating worked as a housing officer for Camden Council, before embarking on his legal career. David always stayed true to his roots, and despite enjoying his Crown Court Advocacy he never became aloof from clients.
David was a man of fierce intelligence, sharp wit, and enormous compassion with an unconventional outlook on life. Admired, respected and loved by his colleagues, he was one of a kind. The profession has lost one of its best, and we have lost a truly good friend.David, you are sadly missed”
(Full obituary by Pip and Claire can be read on p10 of The Advocate magazine -click this link to download the issue)
David’s funeral was on 4th March. It was an extremely moving service, followed by a wake where many memories and anecdotes were exchanged. He will be greatly missed by his partner Annie, his family, and his many friends.
One of the chosen songs at the service was Into my Arms (Nick Cave)
My father-in-law, Ahmet Baboullii, passed away on 19 January 2015.
He was just two weeks short of his 90th birthday.
Ahmet was born in Larnaca, Cyprus on 02 February 1925.
The island was then British run with mixed Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities. Ahmet spoke both languages fluently, becoming tri-lingual when he later learned English.
He was originally known as Ahmed Musafa, later taking the Greek name Baboullii.
Ahmets father farmed land and did carpentry, and Ahmet was the eldest of five children (of whom just one brother survives)
He joined the British army, supposedly at 16, although it is possible that he was younger and lied about his age. He initially joined a transport regiment, and served in Egypt, but later became an army PT instructor based back in Cyprus. He retained high level of fitnesses until late in life.
After leaving the army, Ahmet left for the UK in 1955.
He settled in London, and spent the rest of his life in North London, predominately in Islington.
He supported Arsenal Football Club, attending matches at Highbury taking first his son, and later his daughter who remembers standing on a soap-box in the crowd to try and gain sufficient height in the packed terraces to see the action.
He worked in engineering, predominately for an Islington-based company called Ormond Engineering Ltd (based behind Sadler’s Wells)
He married Nasif in 1956 in Liverpool Rd Registry Office. They had two children:- Freddie was born in 1960, and Sonya in 1969.
A man of simple tastes, Ahmet was hard-working, reliable, and a devoted father. He was an excellent cook, and prepared the family meal each day.
Although separated from Nasif in later years and living independently, they remained on friendly terms and he was a regular visitor to see the grandchildren.
Ahmet lived modestly, but wanted for nothing. Everyone remembers him as having a broad smile, and extending a warm welcome (and almost certainly some food and drink) to visitors.
I first met Ahmet in 2000 when I was dating Sonya, and was always made very welcome when we visited. He was a sprightly 75, always had a twinkle in his eye, was a knowledgable football fan and Arsenal supporter, a great cook, and partial to a beer or whiskey.
We hit it off straight away.
My key memories:-
1 Asking his permission for me to propose to Sonya.
2 His phenomenal barbeque in our back garden at Adam’s naming ceremony.
3 Leading the dancing at our wedding.
4 Taking him to the Emirates for his 80th birthday (v Man Utd)
I will miss him.
He will be greatly missed.