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Thursday, 4 August 2016

Happy Birthday Dad!

I've posted this photograph of my parents stepping out on their wedding day before, but I'm including it again here, because it is a fair match for the Sepia Saturday #342 prompt photograph above of musical stars Madge and Cyril, minus the flamboyance and the wind factor, and also because today (5 August) would have been my father Ian's 92nd birthday. 

Ian Alfred Murray Cruickshank married Jean Margaret Morrison at St David's Church Sydenham in Christchurch NZ on 22 April 1950.

Mum and Dad have both featured quite a lot in my blog, and I also previously posted a letter written to my maternal grandmother Mona by her cousin Nellie, describing the successful and enjoyable wedding celebration of Jean and Ian in great detail, which you can read here.

Jean and Ian were happily married for almost 50 years before Ian passed away from pancreatic cancer on 17 February 2000, aged 75. Here is an extract from an obituary for Ian written by A D Thomson and published in the New Zealand Journal for Crop and Horticultural Science in 2000.

The death of Dr Ian Cruickshank in Australia on 17 February 2000 marked the passng of a pioneer New Zealand plant pathologist who was a University of Canterbury and Lincoln University graduate and after graduation was on the staff of the former DSIR at Lincoln. Ian moved to the CSIRO's Division of Plant Industry in Canberra in 1956 where he established an international reputation for his studies on a mechanism of the resistance of plants to disease. He discovered and characterised phytoalexins which are produced in plants as a response to infection by fungal pathogens. Ian was born in Rangiora and educated at Rangiora Primary School and Rangiora High School. His father, Mr O. D. Cruickshank, was well known in North Canterbury as the District Health Inspector. Ian graduated BSc in 1947 and his subjects included: Botany I, II, III; Chemistry I, II; Physics I; and Zoology I. Ian graduated MSc in Botany in 1948 with Second Class Honours from Canterbury University College and Lincoln Agricultural College where his MSc research was supervised by Dr I. D. Blair (1912-89) in the Department of Microbiology. Ian's MSc thesis was entitled "Studies on fungus causing a leaf blotch disease of peas (Pisum sativum)" and was published in 1949 as "Studies on a fungus (Septoria pisi Westend.) causing a foliage disease of peas (Pisum sativum L.)" in the New Zealand Journal of Science and Technology (Cruickshank 1949) and this was Ian's first publication. In 1964 Ian was awarded a DSc by the University of Canterbury for his published research on host-pathogen relationships and his thesis was entitled "Some physiological aspects of host-parasite relationships"

 Dad didn't discuss his work at home very much, and as a child I simply knew he worked in the area of plant diseases, and that he sometimes had to go out to work in the middle of the night to attend to his experiments in the lab. Jean founded an annual science prize in honour of Ian at Rangiora High School, where his science master had inspired him to follow a scientific career.
Alfred and Murray were the middle names of Ian's two grandfathers, Thomas Alfred Byles and Charles Murray Cruickshank. I wonder whether my grandparents thought about the fact that their son's initials would be I AM Cruickshank. Probably not.

Mum and Dad were loving and caring parents and grandparents to their three children and nine grandchildren, and would also have very much enjoyed their four, soon to be five, great grandchildren. We all remember them both with love and affection. I often wish that I could still ask them for their advice and wisdom. If only!

A favourite photograph of Dad with one of our boys, taken on a family picnic in June 1985.

Family members celebrating  Ian's 70th birthday on 5 August 1994,

                                                             Happy Birthday Dad! 


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