Lovat Reay MacKenzie

(1913 - 12 February 1991)
Gravestone of Lovat Reay Mackenzie & his sister Una Holm Mackenzie
     Lovat Reay MacKenzie was commonly known as Reay. He was born in 1913 in Morningside, Edinburgh, Scotland. He was the son of Donald Alexander MacKenzie and Elizabeth Fraser.
     Lovat died on 12 February 1991 in the Highland Hospice, Inverness. The Cromarty Journalist reported: Cromarty Man of Culture: Lovat Reay Mackenzie was a connoisseur of culture and history.
Born into a Cromarty family distinguished in the arts, he was faithful to the Ideals they had prized in his life, his work and his many interests. Such was the theme of a tribute by the Rev Robert Galloway at Reay's funeral service in the West Church, Cromarty.
Reay moved to his home in High Street, Cromarty, in 1983 on his retirement from his last post as news editor of the Highland News In Inverness. he died, aged 77, at the Highland Hospice, on 12th February.
A talented journalist of wide experience, he was a former, deputy news editor of the Scottish Daily Express in their Edinburgh offices. He was also an accomplished pianist and composer of music. Among his works was the score of a ballet "Grand Pas Classique", with choreography by Marlaric performed at the Edinburgh Ballet Theatre in 1959.
Reay was the son of journalist, Don Alec Mackenzie, who in (the early days of this century shared the editorship of the North Star with his brother George, later Editor of the Northern Chronicle, Inverness. Another notable uncle was Dr. William Mackay Mackenzie, Professor of Ancient History at Edinburgh University. Reay was a brother of Dr. Norman Mackenzie, a leading psychiatrist, who spent his retirement in the old family home in Barkly Street, Cromarty.
Although born in Edinburgh and educated at George Watson's College there, Reay's roots were very much In Cromarty, which was, in the words of Mr Galloway "the home town of his illustrious ancestors who were literary giants."
Mr Galloway said that the family home In Barkly Street field many precious memories of cultural, especially musical, occasions. 'Reay was deeply conscious of the contributions his ancestors had made to education and other causes in Cromarty. His great love of the town and its rich history, and his appreciation of Its architectural merits were reflected in his wish that his funeral service could take place in the *Old East Church, but, sadly, that was not possible.
Reay's interest in history was also exemplified in his absorption with antiques - from small items in porcelain to pictures and furniture. He saw much more in these items than monetary value - art, craftsmanship, the skills of a bygone age. He was a connoisseur.
Then there was his devotion to music, especially classical music. Bach was his favourite composer. Reay's gifts as a pianist were a tribute to his Austrian teacher, Dr. Hans Gells. Mr Galloway described how Reay once helped him in his search for a new piano, insisting that it should be a grand or, at least, a baby grand. At one house, he astonished the potential sellers by the virtuosity of his performance on the keys with no music before him.
In everything Reay's standards were high. He seemed to find joy, satisfaction, security in the established - the tried - things. And how he tried to share his standards and his knowledge.
Mr Galloway revealed that before his death Reay was working on a project to set to music the "Ballad of Sir Patrick Spens," which begins with the line "The King Sits in Dunfermline Town". Alas, It was not to be.
As a person, Reay was very private, studious and scholarly, yet he lived a very full life, a contented life. he was a man of peace. His skill with words and his quiet humour were with hint to the end. His literary talents were manifested In his contribution to the world of journalism.
With Reay's passing, another notable Cromarty figure has left the scene he was part of local history, which he had enriched.
In conclusion, Mr Galloway expressed the community's deep sympathy for Reay's relatives at home who were present at the funeral, and abroad. The interment took place in Cromarty Cemetery, overlooking, the old town which meant so much to him
. He was buried in the Gaelic churchyard, Cromarty.