FOR the second time in a month, the Lanark teaching profession has been hit by a sudden and tragic loss.
Last Wednesday, while on holiday in Florida, retired teacher Mary Greenshields was struck and killed by a vehicle driven by a teenager while attempting to cross a road in the resort of Tampa.
She was 64 years old.
The popular resident of Lanark’s Rhyber Avenue was educated at Lanark Grammar and formerly taught at Forth Primary School for 38 years, only retiring in 2010 as the school’s deputy head teacher.
She acted as temporary head of various local primaries between appointments of permanent head teachers.
Her long-time partner Alex pre-deceased her in 2000.
A close friend in Forth, Christine Fraser, told the Gazette: “Mary was a dedicated teacher who was absolutely terrified of retiring but, when she did retire, enjoyed it enormously.”
Ironically, added Christine, Mary died in a place she loved.
“She absolutely adored Florida and went there regularly, driving all over the state,” she said.
Christine added that her late friend had been a great nature-lover and a talented amateur photographer, often taking snaps of the wildlife she encountered on her treks around Lanark and Forth.
As part of a very active retirement, she was a member and organiser of a walking group in Forth and a gardening club in Lanark.
It is understood that she volunteered her talents in work for the Lanark in Bloom group.
She was also an active member of the Lanark U3A group and the Lanarkshire Retired Teachers Association.
Her death came exactly a month after 25-year-old Lanark Primary teacher Maryam Najafian lost her life after a freak sledging accident in Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Park.
Her senior ex-colleague Mary Greenshields died in very different, but no less tragic, circumstances.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the accident happened at about 5.30pm when Mary was attempting to cross the busy Florida Avenue in Tampa.
In circumstances still being investigated by the Highway Patrol, she was struck by a Jeep Cherokee vehicle being driven by an 18-year-old Tampa male.
He and his female passenger, also 18 and from Tampa, were both uninjured.
Sadly, however, Mary was declared dead at the scene of the accident.
A spokesman for the Highway Patrol said: “The case remains under investigation.”
He added that “charges are pending”.
No details of funeral arrangements were available at time of going to press.
Mary was the middle child of five and is survived by two of her brothers, one living in Lanark and the other in Cambusnethan.