In Memoriam of Brother Robert “Bert” Irvine
by Brother Ian Cougan
Bert Irvine was born on the 17th of March 1942.
He was brought up in Tayport where he attended the local Junior Secondary School and it was there he met Janet MacLauchlin, his childhood sweetheart, who would become his wife in 1966.
On leaving school Bert started his apprenticeship with Bonar Long in Dundee as an electrical engineer where he worked till he took early retirement some twelve years ago; having travelled from east to west installing and repairing transformers.
As a young man Bert played football with Douglas Amateurs and when his football career came to an end he took up golf becoming a member of Scotscraig Golf Club . After he retired, he joined Scotscraig Bowling Club and he was soon amongst the prize-winners. The one prize that eluded him was in the match against Lodge Balgonie, which used to annoy him.
But his main interest in life was Freemasonry
Bert was Initiated in Lodge St Michael 246
On the 5th October 1961.
Passed on the 19th October 1961
Raised on the 2nd November 1961
He Received his Mark on the 16th November 1961
Bert affiliated to Lodge Tay Union 273 on the 2nd of February 1981 where he took over the vacant role of secretary on the 6th of April 1981, a role he filled until he became Senior Warden for two years prior to becoming Right Worshipful Master 1984 – 86.
Following two years as IPM he resumed the position as secretary of the Lodge, a post he held until his untimely death on 29th March 2013
Bert was a past Senior Grand Warden of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Fife & Kinross, but it will be in his role of Provincial Grand Almoner that he will be best remembered. Bert would travel the length and breadth of Fife in all weathers visiting sick brethren, comforting the bereaved and assisting those who were seeking financial support. In this capacity he certainly went above and beyond the call of duty.
Bert was treasurer of both Fife Sovereign Chapter and Fife Sovereign Council, and a member or the Royal Order of Scotland. He was also Proxy Master of Lodge Angus 1592 s.c. of the District Grand Lodge of the Middle East, a Lodge he visited on three occasions and represented regularly at the Grand Lodge of Scotland
He will certainly be a great loss not only to Lodge Tay Union but to Freemasonry in general.
He was a man who was always willing to help others. I cannot remember a time when Bert was asked to do something; he always volunteered first.
Apart from the work he did as a Freemason he was the treasurer of another three organisations: Tayport Football Club, Tayport Thistle Boys Football Club, and United Free Church; the last two positions he took over from his wife after her death in 1999, also helping out the many other organisations that Janet had been involved in. He helped with the Tayport Old Peoples Welfare Committee, ordering and delivering Christmas parcels to the housebound and acting as an unpaid taxi driver to members of the Old Folks Club.
I have been privileged to know Bert Irvine for over fifty years, having first encountered him as a raw recruit when he was an officer in the Boys Brigade, an organisation which Bert always maintained was the recruiting ground for freemasonry (apologies to any former Boy Scouts present).
He was a help and inspiration to me throughout my Masonic career and the greatest compliment he paid to me was that he would tell others that he proposed me, initiated me, installed me as Master, and he always maintained that I had never let him down.
I hope in this tribute to my friend and mentor I have not let him down.