Donald – a Tullibody Inspiration

Reaching out to people and touching their lives, is not instinctive human activity. It is learned and practiced behaviour. Not all of us are capable of committing to it nor, indeed, do we   wish to have  any appreciable level of involvement in the lives of others.  Only those who really care and have confidence in themselves are capable  ; it demands a bank of good will from which to draw; generosity of spirit is an absolute pre-requisite; it is not an occasional commitment but a lifestyle choice; it requires humility, appreciation, respect for the dignity of others and the ability to listen and share experience.

Donald Drysdale, who sadly passed away this week in his cherished Tullibody, possessed all of those qualities and more. He was one of those constants in the community who serve as landmarks in the lives of others. I have known him for over 30 years as parent of two pupils in my school, neighbour and valued friend. When I decided to make a short documentary about Tullibody, he was a first choice as contributor. My aim was to seek the views of those who lived and worked there and it could not have been made without the substantial and considered input of my friend, Donald. He eulogised the village and its people and ,clearly,  it was the well, along with his family,  from which he drew inspiration for the many aspects of a diverse life.

He was from a generation for whom hard work, community and concern for those around him were the cornerstones of life. His slightly old-fogey deference towards those whom he considered his superiors was a source of gentle teasing for us but reflected Donald’s embracing of the culture in which he grew up.  In truth, Donald’s gentle spirit and singular work ethic marked him out for me as a very superior individual. In recent years, he had developed some physical bulk and unwelcome, accompanying ailments but it did not detract from his commitment to  work and principally to his family who were the keystones of his life.

For Emma, Lisa, Gemma and the grandchildren,  there will be a momentous chasm in their lives,  a forlorn and unthinkable, deep emptiness.  There has been a sincere outpouring of sympathy for them in  the community   and for it too there has also been a keen sense of  grief at the loss of Donald Drysdale. In the gloomy, winter days ahead, I hope that appreciation and  shared, joyful,  family memories will allow some comfort for Emma , the girls and the wider family.

May he rest in Peace 


  1. Well put, John. Moving.

  2. Thanks, Jude. Donald was a very fine person, a business man who thought first about the service he provided, rather than the return on his investment. He will be greatly missed in the Community.

  3. It must gladden the hearts of his family to read such a tribute.

  4. Donald was a much respected figure in the Tullibody community and further afield. He received a considerable sum in cash gifts for his 70th birthday and he donated it to the RDA – no cameras, no press piece. Just a quiet act of generosity which was so typical of the man.

  5. Mr Paton what a lovely tribute to one of Tullibody’s finest. Donald will be missed greatly.

  6. What wonderful words for a true legend of a man. As you stated a huge chasm will be left by his passing but hopefully comfort for the family reading the outpouring of kindness for him and his family

  7. Ive known Donald & Emma for over 40 years and used to Baby sit the 2 girls and take them for walks when they were babys. He was also my first Boss when i worked in the chip shop . He was such a proud man and Tullibody has lost a Legend . This is such a lovley tribute to him and lovley for the family to know how people feel about Donald , i hope it helps them through this tough time .
    Linda Connor( McLuckie)

  8. Thank you Mr Paton for this fitting tribute to my Dad. It is very comforting to read this and my Mum, Gemma and myself are very grateful for your kind words – thank you.

    • We share your loss, Lisa, as comments here indicate.However, that feeling is miniscule, I know, in relation to the emotions which you, Gemma and your mother are currently experiencing. Your dad was a singular individual who enriched the life experiences of many around him. Liz and I are each deeply sorry for your loss.

  9. They should put a plaque on one of the benches in tron court as a symbol of a very kind hearted gentleman who gave so much to the community a very kind human being . Rest in peace Donald x X

  10. Am so sorry to hear thus but I must say bug Donald was a true legend threw,threw x rip my heart goes out to the family x

  11. Tullibody has list an icon,I used to work for Donald and Emma when I was about 13yrs I loved my work that much,I used to ask to work on,double shifts sometimes,he even tried to put me in the chip bin when it was my birthday,I think him and Bobby actually managed to put my sister in it lol, they always made sure thevstaff git home safely,I used to pop in now and again,when in tullibody,always recognized,my heart goes out to Emma and her family,R.I.P Donald fantastic tribute x

  12. As a neighbour, customer, kinda friend. Donald always thought the best in people. Probably the biggest tullibody legend in my life time. Hopefully there is (should be) a plaque made in his honer as the Tron court is getting done up. Canny believe he’s no going to be there telling ma bairns off as he did me. From the pool room to the chippie it was always people first before business. Rip Donald. A true gent.

  13. A beautiful tribute to a legendary man. Like many others, I’ve known Donald since I was a child, and grown up with the girls. He encouraged my love of horses, and pretty much gave the girls no choice but to have me as a tag-a-long! And a friendship built then has lasted to this day.

    To say we were devastated about the news of his passing would be an understatement, but it is nothing to the loss for his family. They all know how much he meant to everyone, however, and I think that makes things a little bit easier. I also believe there should be a memorial placed in Tron Court, as he has been the main part of it for decades.

  14. Wow, an amazing tribute, Donald and his family made dreams come true, made people smile, and laugh.
    My heart goes out to his family…
    RIP Donald xxxx

  15. A true gentleman ,a wonderful best friend of my dad the double act is gone rest in peace love to all the family x

  16. Sorry to hear this news. Met Donald while my dad was my dad was undergoing radiotherapy back in 2006 and used to chat with Donald and Emma who was going through the same. Lovely man. Condolences to Emma and the family x

  17. Loved Donald dearly, my grannies nephew, spent holidays at Glenhead Cottage, with Uncle Jim and Auntie Annie, and Donald in turn spent holidays with his Auntie Daisy and family in Kirkcowan area, very close to us all! Donald was always smiling and joking! Will miss him so very much condolences to Emma, Lisa, Gemma and the rest of the family🙏🏻👼❤️❤️❤️❤️

  18. Anyone that has or does live in Tullibody knew Donald and knows Emma. He will be sorely missed…….heaven must be an amazing place right now ❤️x

  19. Well said John. Eloquent words expressing how many people feel about the passing of this great guy. RIP Donald.

    • Yes. I have known him a long time and appreciated his generosity in kind and in spirit. It was always done quietly with no fuss or publicity. Sports Day in Banchory, for example, when the children got an ice cream always resulted from the thoughtfulness of Donald and Emma. Thanks for your kind words and all the best for 2018.

  20. Nice words. John. Thank you our friend Donald

  21. A lovely true hard working gentleman.He will be sadly missed as he was a big part of people’s lives in tullibody.Thoughts with his family at this sad time❤️

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