Eric Paterson was a traditional family doctor

Mourned...Dr Eric H Paterson
Mourned...Dr Eric H Paterson

A DEDICATED old-fashioned doctor and a devoted husband and father – these are some of the ways in which Dr Eric Horsburgh Paterson will be remembered.

“He was incorrigible,” said his son Tom. “People loved him for that. He had such a sharp mind and great wit, and his ability to grasp a problem was quite exceptional.

“He would never give up.”

But when it came to his family, Dr Paterson was a complete “softie” and he doted on his wife Maisie.

The couple were childhood sweethearts, together for 65 years.

The youngest of ten children born to Lanark butcher Thomas Horseburgh Paterson, Eric had a choice of careers. At Lanark Grammar he was captain of the school, and captain of the first XI football team, receiving an under-18 cap for Scotland.

He also played for Lanark United and for Forth Wanderers, when he was only 14 years old.

The young Eric was offered a professional contract for Aberdeen FC but instead chose medicine.

After his National Service in the navy, he went to Glasgow University at the age of 22, travelling in from Lanark each day and, while he studied at home, Maisie sat quietly in the same room doing embroidery.

He graduated in 1956 and married Maisie the same year.

The new doctor’s first post was at the William Smellie Maternity Hospital, then, after a spell as a GP in Motherwell and Wishaw, he moved to Carluke in 1958, working there until he retired.

Tom can remember his father’s first surgery, in the Templars Hall in Carluke, where patients would already be waiting to see him when he finished his early-morning house calls.

He would still be seeing patients late in the evening, never shutting before all had been seen.

And Tom can remember children injured – perhaps in a fall – at the weekend being brought to the house where his father’s deft fingers could neatly sew a wound up.

In 1959 Dr Paterson bought Glenview, the house in Station Road where he and Maisie raised their family – Eric, Tom, Marion and Christine – and where he drilled them on their homework.

He was a keen gardener, winning competitions annually.

Indeed, their Glenview garden was so stunning that local brides would turn up to have their wedding photos taken there, while Dr Paterson opened champagne for them.

Dr Paterson was founder president of Carluke Rotary and remainded an honorary member until his death.

He was one of very few Scots to be awarded the Paul Harris Fellowship Medal for outstanding service to Rotary.

“Carluke Rotary started because of Eric,” said another founder member Dr BD Sharma.

“He was the lynch pin. We got our charter in 1979, but there were meetings before then and some were held in his home.

“He was always extremely involved in the Rotary.”

Paying tribute to his father, Tom added: “He was very competitive, determined and forthright but very caring and compassionate too.

“His job was a vocation and meant the world to him.”

But his father also had an “amazing” memory, able to quote large passages of poetry, Shakespeare and Burns. A God-fearing man, he knew his Bible well too.

A self-taught pianist, he also had a good ear for music and after hearing a tune could pick it out on the piano.

He stayed alert right up until his death. With devoted care from his daughter Christine, Dr Paterson died at home on April 21, just a month before his 85th birthday.

He leaves a close family, which now includes eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

It is a measure of how much he was loved that Maisie had received some 300 sympathy cards after his death.