Alex Donald, of Stonehaven, who once hacked the legs off a priceless piece of furniture owned by John Paul Getty, has died aged 70.
As a young man he worked at the Sutton Place Estate in Surrey, owned by the then richest man in the world.
When he got married to his wife Joyce, and following the birth of their son Alec, also very well known around Stonehaven as Sycamore, the couple were given a cottage on the grounds.
They had little money so they were given furniture from the main 16th century house owned by Getty.
Alex’s daughter-in-law Sarah Donald said: “His wife did not like the height of a chest of drawers so Alex cut the legs off.
“They later found out it was a priceless antique but I don’t recall hearing of any comeback from Mr Getty.”
In later life, Alex operated Sandy’s Taxis in Stonehaven and a gardening business.
He was born in Stonehaven to Alexander (Sandy) Donald and his wife Jessica, known as Lavender.
Alex was educated at Arduthie Primary School and then Mackie Academy.
When he left school, Alex moved south to work on the Getty estate as a general worker and occasional driver to John Paul Getty, head of the Getty Oil Company.
One of his tasks while he was there was to build the cage which was home to Mr Getty’s pet lioness, Teresa.
Alex was there at the time Mr Getty’s grandson, John Paul Getty III was kidnapped in Rome in 1973.
Notoriously frugal, Mr Getty refused to pay the $17 million dollar ransom but did relent and paid $2.2million of the revised $3million ransom and lent his son the balance.
In 1973, three years after their son Alec was born, a yearning for home brought the couple back to Scotland and they settled in Fettercairn where Alex became a forestry worker.
The family later moved to Stonehaven in 1976, where Alex continue to work in forestry with his father Sandy, with his son Alec joining them in 1985.
When Sandy retired from forestry he established a taxi firm and Alex then founded a gardening business and also drove for his father’s firm Sandy’s Taxis at weekends.
After his father died in 2005, Alex took charge of the firm and was a familiar face behind the wheel in Stonehaven for many years.
Sarah said: “He did a lot of work around the town as well as airport runs and was well known for his gardening work.
“He did not speak too much about his time with John Paul Getty but did come out with the occasional hilarious gem.”