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Death of widow of former Canisbay Minister in Inverness

18th June 2019

MUIR - Suddenly at home, on 6th June, 2019, Catriona Kinloch Muir (nee Male), aged 69 years, Drumossie Avenue, Inverness, dearly loved wife of the late Rev. Alex Muir, loving mother of Kenneth, Graham, Alistair and Ian and dear mother-in-law of Louise and Joanna and grandmother of Sophie, Alexander, Laura and Naomi. Following a private Committal Service in Kilvean Cemetery, a Service of Remembrance and Thanksgiving will be held on Friday, 21st June, 2019, at 12 noon, in Dalneigh Church, Inverness. All family and friends are warmly invited. Donations, if desired, to Dalneigh Church (Youth and Children's Work) may be given at the service. Arrangements by D. Chisholm & Sons.

Her late husband.

Minister to Queen Mother when she was in Scotland
Born: 26 December, 1940, in Glasgow.

Died: 15 March, 2010, in Inverness, aged 69.

THE minister of the late Queen Mother when she was on holiday at her Scottish castle has died after a battle against cancer.

Alexander Muir was parish minister of Canisbay and Keiss in Caithness from 1982 to 1991, and enjoyed her company on many occasions when she was at the Castle of Mey.

His brother John said: "Not long after arriving at the manse in Cansibay, he and wife Catriona had the honour of being invited to the castle for dinner. This was to be the first of many visits, and he was able to offer pastoral support to the Queen Mother during his ministry."

John added: "The dinner parties were not sombre affairs. On learning of his musical abilities, she invited him to sing Scottish songs and ballads in the drawing room after dinner. This became a regular event. He was asked to take his guitar along and had the songs copied out for everyone to join in."

One evening the Queen joined her mother for dinner at the castle from the Royal Yacht, and the Queen Mother asked Muir to lead them all in the singing of The Jeely Piece Song.

Muir was well known for a wide variety of reasons, across Scotland and beyond. He was a preacher, teacher, revivalist, historian, musician, song-writer.

Muir was brought up in a loving, happy home with his sister Jean and brother John. His parents were in the Christian Brethren. Through Sunday school, Bible class and regular church attendance they learned about the Christian faith. In their late teens, he and his close friend Colin Rankin began to do lay-preaching and singing in the open air, hospitals and around the many small mission halls scattered across Glasgow.

Muir attended Rutherglen Academy and Glasgow University, where he graduated with a master of arts degree in Scottish history and literature. After completing a postgraduate diploma in education at Jordanhill College, he taught English (and occasionally history), first of all at Greenfield Secondary in Glasgow. He also studied French and became a fluent speaker.

In 1963, as an extension of his French studies, he spent time in France to improve his linguistic competence and decided to take the opportunity to do Christian work while he was there.

He lived with a pastor in Paris and did some work with a French evangelist, Georges Buisson. He returned to the Limoges area during the summer holidays in 1964 with his brother John and Colin Rankin to support Georges in his church's outreach to small villages and towns in central France.

They would set out in the warm summer mornings in his bouncy Citroen 2CV, with packed lunches and books for the stand de la Bible which they carried with them to set up in open-air markets.

In 1966 Muir a took a year out of teaching to respond to an invitation to help at the West African Missionary Training Centre in Nigeria, where he taught English and Biblical studies.

He often stayed in contact with foreign students who came along to the city church he attended, and the Muir home came to be called "The United Nations" as on many a Sunday there was at least one overseas student present at the lunch table.

Muir took up teaching again in 1967, working in two schools in Lanarkshire, latterly as assistant principal teacher of English. In 1969 he met his future wife Catriona at Auchenheath House in Lanarkshire, the home of their mutual friend Dr Jack Kelly.

They were married in 1971 and set up home in Glasgow, where Kenneth and Graham were born. Muir continued to teach until 1977, when he felt called to the Ministry of the Word. He returned to Glasgow University to study for a bachelor of divinity degree, after being accepted as a candidate for the Church of Scotland Ministry. He graduated in 1980.

He did short assistantships in Largs, on the island of Barra, and occasional ministry in Sutherland and Wester Ross, before being called to the parish of Canisbay with Keiss in 1982. Their sons Alistair and Ian were born there.

Muir's affection for Gaelic language and culture came in handy when, in 1991, he was called to the parish of Carinish in North Uist.

He had a prolific and much appreciated ministry there until 1996 when, due to ill health, he had to take early retirement from his charge. However, on setting up home in Inverness, he did not really retire from Christian work, taking services from time to time and, continuing with his passion for literature and music, spending many a long day composing and writing.

For several years he was author and contributory author to a wide range of publications.

Muir is also well known in Scotland for his compositions for the bagpipes, although, to the surprise of many, he had never learned to play the instrument.

He spent long hours researching Church history and wrote many letters and articles on the topic.

His passion for the Lord was undiminished up to his passing, despite many years of suffering following his diagnosis of myeloma, cancer of the bone marrow, in 2003. He had several relapses over the past 18 months but remained firm in his faith and witness.

He passed away peacefully in the Highland Hospice in Inverness on Monday 15 March 2010, surrounded by his family, who hold wonderful memories of his life and witness to the Gospel of Christ.

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