William Irvine, who has died aged 92, played a special part in the lives of hundreds of Dundonians who moved into the Ardler multis in the 1960s with high hopes of better lives.
Many had come from dark, cramped city centre tenements with outside toilets and crowded platties.
So the modern, bright and spacious blocks set in park land on the outskirts of town were like a leap into the future. Dundee was moving on.
There to greet them and look after their welfare was Mr Irvine, one of the caretakers of the set of three, three-block multi-storey flats.
He was in charge of the Gleneagles, Ganton and Gullane blocks and lived in a tied house on the first floor.
Mr Irvine’s son, Willie, said a greater part of the role was looking after residents’ welfare and helping out in emergencies as well as the regular repair and maintenance work.
“It really was a 24-hour service,” said Willie. “Dad was called when people got sick or when there was a death or other emergency. People in need of help gravitated to our flat. Just about six months ago we are at Aldi in Macalpine Road when I overhead a man in his 60s or 70s saying he recognised my dad by his voice, so he was well remembered.”
Mr Irvine spent 11 years at Ardler before joining the North of Scotland Hydro Electric Board.
He was born in Maryfield Hospital in 1928 and his parents lived at 8 Malcolm Street, Stobswell.
Mr Irvine was educated at Stobswell secondary school and went on to join the Royal Army Veterinary Corps.
He was posted to Germany’s Baltic coast in 1946 and was involved in the procurement and care of military horses and dogs.
Mr Irvine served in the army for 12 years before spending two years as a merchant seaman, serving on the Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, among other vessels, and travelling to America, South America, Africa, the Middle East and Canada.
In 1960 when his service ended, he returned to Dundee to work as a cattleman at North Mains of Baldovie.
Three years later he met his future wife, Eileen Hackett, at a police dance in the city and the couple were married in 1964.
They lived in Tannadice Street until their move to Ardler to the middle of the three sets of multis.
During his service as a meter reader with the hydro board, Mr Irvine suffered a serious stroke and had to retire aged 44.
He spent months in Bridge of Earn hospital and the prognosis did not look good, his son said.
“Dad lost a lot of mobility and speech and was in rehabilitation for years, however, he was determined to help his own recovery and used to walk miles, hour after hour, at shuffle pace.
“He really pushed himself to try to get better and his efforts really did make a difference. He struggled to talk but was always talking and he never forgot how to laugh.”
In the mid 1990s, Willie took his dad to watch his middle multi block at Ardler being demolished.
“We stood near the Macalpine Road shops. Dad was dressed in his shirt and tie, overcoat and Tam o’ Shanter. He was recognised by others in the crowd as the caretaker. But before anyone could get speaking a giant dust cloud enveloped us all and that was the end of the Ardler multis.”
The family’s announcement can be read here.