PETER COMRIE

by John Mackie

Peter Comrie was born in Perthshire in 1868, and educated in Muthill School and Morrison's Academy, Crieff. He then went to St Andrews University, where he was a distinguished student and graduated M.A., B.Sc. Choosing teaching as his profession, he taught mathematics in Greenock, Glasgow, and Aberdeen, and finally in Boroughmuir School, Edinburgh, as Mathematics Master from 1904 to 1917. He then became Headmaster of Castle Hill School, and in 1922 was appointed Rector of Leith Academy. During his tenure of that office, the new school was built, and its many excellent features are due in a great measure to his ideals as a schoolmaster and his foresight as an administrator. In 1928, the year in which he was President of the Educational Institute of Scotland, the degree of Doctor of Laws was conferred on him by his University. This honour was much prized by him, and greatly appreciated by his fellow-teachers throughout Scotland. For many years he was a member of the Edinburgh Provincial Committee for the Training of Teachers, and, after his retiral in 1933, of the Edinburgh Education Committee, being a member of both of those bodies at the time of his death. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and of the Educational Institute of Scotland.

Dr Comrie was elected a member of the Mathematical Society in 1905; he served on the Committee continuously from 1907 to 1920, was Honorary Secretary from 1911 to 1916, and President from 1916 to 1918. He contributed two articles to "Mathematical Notes," on topics occurring in school mathematical teaching. The society owed much to him for his long and enthusiastic work as an office-bearer.

Dr Comrie was married to Miss Charlotte Aikman, a St Andrews lady, who survives him.

Both in private and in public life he was one of the kindliest of men. He grudged neither time nor energy to further the welfare of others, and in all his work created about him an atmosphere of friendly and human companionship in carrying out a common task. He lived a full and active life up to the end, and died after a short illness in December 1944.

This obituary appeared in the Edinburgh Mathematical Notes.