Obituary - Graham Crowder (YoE 1959)

It is sad to advise you of the death of another classmate in the 1959 entry. Graham died on May 27th, 2020. He had a cancer diagnosis on 3rd April and unfortunately at that point it was so serious that soon after that it was clear that treatment was not an option. His funeral was in Edinburgh on June 3rd and I was able to watch it via a video link. We give sympathy to his wife Jane and sister Brenda and all the rest of his family.


I first met Graham at the Southern Grammar in January 1960 when I joined his class. We then continued to be friends through the years including the sixth form. For many years he was top of the K class. His wife, much later in his life, said that Graham always enjoyed school. He was very gifted particularly in science subjects but was also musical playing the violin. At some time, probably when we were 17, we started meeting in the evenings and I remember going to the Manor House pub in East Cosham to play bar billiards with a couple of pints. He lived in Lower Drayton Lane and his mother, father, grandmother and sister Brenda always made me welcome there. I spent many a New Year's Eve there, later my wife too. When Graham left school he went to Oxford for his first degree then a Ph.D. I remember visiting him in Oxford.

When he left Oxford he went to Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh where he spent nearly all his working career. I know he was well-respected there. Again we visited him in Edinburgh sometimes but not enough in retrospect. He was god-father to our younger son since 1982. Graham came to our wedding in 1972 deriving a Post Office van. It caused some amusement as it was still red. I remember after meeting him in Portsmouth one time he was driving back to Edinburgh in it. It broke down at the top of Portsdown Hill. The AA delivered it, and him, to Edinburgh.

When he was at University he developed a passion for Balkan music and made many journeys there over the years. He was probably the best player of the Gadulka in the UK. With my love of trains he made me jealous when he said he returned once on the Orient Express. But it was well past its prime and he had to stand much of the way. A friend in Edinburgh said this: “He is such an easy going person to get on with and has a wicked sense of humour, we can still remember so many hilarious moments .” I sent to Jane, his wife whom he knew for thirty years: “I shall always remember him as he was, cheerful, very clever and fun to be with.” So true.

Chris Lewis