Arctic adventurer who became US finance executive
A former Aberdeen school pupil and talented player who gave up his beloved rugby to start a new life across the Atlantic at a remote Arctic trading post has died at the age of 79.
Iain Charles Stewart Michie went on to have a long and successful life working in finance in Canada and the USA until his passing in Alabama this month.
Born in 1938 in the village of Tomintoul – which was then in Banffshire but is now in Moray – where his father was a doctor, he first went to school in Banff at the academy and then in Aberdeen at the Grammar School.
He loved the outdoors and was an enthusiastic scout being awarded the highest accolade, the Queen’s Scout Badge, along with four other members of the Stoneywood Scout Group.
Academically he was a school prefect and he excelled in sports too, as a member of the Grammar School First XV for three years.
Many who knew him maintained he could have progressed, with ease, to university and to the senior rugby game.
Instead, Mr Michie decided to experience the excitement of emigrating to Canada by way of joining the Hudson’s Bay Company, alongside his close friend Ken Duthie.
At the age of 18 years, and given the honour of leading 19 other Scottish emigres, he sailed from Liverpool in 1956.
Ten years in the Arctic saw him learning Inuit and trading with the Eskimos, often as the only non-Inuit on the post. He returned home to Aberdeen regularly – on one trip marrying his first love Rhoda Sinclair before returning with his bride to the Arctic.
When daughter Brenda was born in Winnipeg in 1961 and his son Iain in Aberdeen four years later, the family moved south to the Great Lakes area and then to Montreal, where he took the opportunity of gaining an accountancy degree at McGill University.
He then left the Hudson’s Bay Company and moved to the commercial side of trading, first in Canada and then in Texas in the southern USA, where he put down his roots.
Sadly, his wife Rhoda died in 1983 and for a number of years his work was his life.
He then met the second love of his life, Shannon Barbour, and they married in 1987.
In doing so, Mr Michie acquired a new extended family with Sean and Leigh.
Eventually he and Shannon had eight grandchildren and two greatgrandchildren.
In Texas he worked in commercial finance, rising to CEO and president.
He was headhunted in 2012, becoming vice-president of the licensed bank Crestmark FDIC.
A workaholic all of his life, he never actually retired.
He died in Alabama with his extended family at his side and is remembered fondly by the Scottish side of the clan, now dispersed to Inverness, England and Australia.
The talented schoolboy who chose adventure over a conventional academic path by joining the Hudson’s Bay Company and emigrating to Canada