Obituary written by Peter Aspbury, David Evans (Sc 53-58), Michael Noël-Clarke (Sc 53-58) and Richard Stocks (Sc 53-58)
John Ian Hamilton Mackintosh, born in Scotland, 3 March 1940, died peacefully at home on January 22nd 2021. Ian’s father died in 1945 in Istanbul where he was serving as a clandestine British intelligence officer and Ian was raised with his older sister, Sarah after the war by his mother, Betty Goldie, and grandmother: first in Sunningdale, moving later to Tunbridge Wells. It was his mother who introduced him to golf in Scotland, where, under 5, he could hit the ball 50 yards and later, to fishing.
Ian was to become a high flyer known for his wit and intellect and won the top scholarship to Tonbridge, where he flourished, not just in his studies, where he ended top of his class but also in sport, becoming Captain of Tennis and capped for the Rugby XV. He was also musical and totally at home on the piano, which he played effortlessly by ear. He was an accompanist at School House prayers and hymns and with an excellent voice, his command was such that he conducted the “House Shout” with aplomb. But he did have the odd brush with authority; once, when in the Combined Cadet Force, he loosed off a blank round on exercise without orders, terrifying an Officer and was summarily “court-martialled” and dismissed!
However, such was Ian’s calibre as he progressed through Tonbridge, that he received the distinction of appointment to Head of School in his final year.
After a gap year he entered Clare College, his father’s alma mater, as an academic scholar but the lures of golf and angling followed, as did an early demotion from Scholar to Exhibitioner. Nevertheless he graduated in 1961 and seldom, if ever, disabused an interviewer impressed by the dual distinctions of Scholar and Exhibitioner on his CV. After Cambridge Ian embarked on a career in the City with Schroders, as a merchant banker and shared a flat in Manchester Street with fellow OTs. It is reported that many evenings were had, with curries, singsongs, Ian on keyboard and jolly girls from flats above!
On a trip to Verbier in Switzerland, in his late twenties, he fell for a young American lady from New York, Victoria Cobb, “Vicky” to friends and family, proposing in Rome a few months later and marrying in 1970. Initially living in Paris (Ian was a fluent linguist) they moved with his career through London, Beirut and Athens and back to London, when he acquired a weekend house in Hampshire. Along the way their first three children were born, Alex, Juliet and then Evelyn.
In 1982 Ian landed a dream assignment, a banking job in New York, where the family welcomed the arrival of a son, Henry, in 1983. They loved Manhattan, the sea and availability of the Catskill rivers and he joined the Anglers Club there. Such was his enthusiasm for fishing that Ian and his young son once boarded the ferry in Lower Manhattan and disembarking, with rod and tackle in hand, made their way to the water’s edge where Ian began to cast in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty. To Henry’s mortification, the National Park Rangers arrived, were not amused and abruptly terminated this experiment!
Returning eventually to the UK, the family settled in Alresford close to Ian’s beloved chalk streams and its golf club. He joined an angling syndicate on the nearby River Itchen, with its brown trout and grayling. Caring deeply about the fragility of the chalk stream ecosystem, he fought hard to protect it. He was particularly proud of the advisory work he and a friend contributed to the restoration of habitat on a stretch of the river, rewarded by a growing population of fish and even of salmon redds.
As an accomplished golfer, he renewed playing with the OTGS and was a popular attendee and team member for many years. On one occasion he was summoned, very early from his bed, to stand in for an injured player in the play-off for the Senior Bernard Darwin Trophy. Tonbridge won! In recent years he was a member of no less than 5 golf clubs, including Rye, Porthcawl and Knole Park: Ian did nothing by half!
Despite his losing a leg in 2020, he had hopes of a return, first to fishing and to golf in 2021, such was his determination: indeed, his electric buggy was held ready for action at the end of lockdown. Sadly, golf was not to be but he did catch a last fish, a 5lb grilse in September 2020, his angling finale.
His health problems though in no way deterred him. With everlasting support from his wife and family, his deep Christian faith, his positive attitude, his self-deprecating charm, his sense of humour, his love of family and life in all its forms never dimmed. He is survived by Victoria, his wife of almost 51 years, their daughters, Alexandra, Juliet, Evelyn, their son, Henry (OT Sc. 96-01) and four granddaughters. He will be much missed by his family and a multitude of friends but never forgotten.