Arc­tic ad­ven­turer who be­came US fi­nance ex­ec­u­tive

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - FEATURES -

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

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