Alfred John Dady, known to all as “Jack” passed away peacefully just after 4pm on Thursday 30th November 2006 at the age of 93.
A service of thanksgiving was held at Fenstanton parish church on January 20th 2007 at 2:30pm.
My father was born 93 years ago in St Ives into a very different world of candle-light, coal fires and the night cart for sewerage. Although his mother died when he was 10, Dad had a happy childhood, not poor, but there was not a lot of money.
A keen Boy Scout, much time was spent outdoors learning about wildlife and developing an interest in birds which lasted all his life.
My grandfather was very keen on education and made sure that his children had every possible encouragement to study and develop enquiring minds. A bright lad, Dad got a scholarship to Huntingdon Grammar School.
Having been brought up in a staunch Conservative family, Dad’s sense of fair play and equality lead him to join the St Ives Labour party of which he was secretary for a time. Not a very robust organisation – Stafford Cripps spoke to an audience of 3, one of whom was a well known Conservative.
A strongly religious upbringing and the arrival in St Ives of a very approachable high Anglican priest, Father Algy, made Dad seriously consider a life in the Church. However he finally opted for a career in engineering.
As a qualified mechanical engineer he spent the war working in the Aeronautical Inspection Department, passing aircraft fit to fly, and defending the country in the Home Guard.
After the war Dad joined BOAC as their best qualified aeronautical engineer, thanks to his own studies. As a staunch trade unionist I think he was rather a thorn in the side of management. Most of his working life was spent overseas, the last 15 years as Engineering Director of Kuwait Airways.
My mother was worried that, after retirement, Dad “would sit on his backside playing with his stamps” After retirement the maternal comments were more on the lines of “2 hours ago your father went to the Post Office to buy stamps, but he will be home for lunch” – Dad did like his food.
With a keen sense of order, Dad got the church yard cleaned up and sorted out the rather chaotic plan of graves. He cleared many footpaths around the village, often mistaken for a council worker. When he came to map the paths, he found that one had been blocked by a local company. Having failed to get this remedied by the District Council, he appealed to the ombudsman and the problem was resolved – people ignored the old man at their peril when he was on a crusade!
Dad negotiated with the Charity Commissioners on behalf of various village charities with which he was involved. He took his work on the Parish Council very seriously and ensured that the standing orders and terms of reference for committees were up to date. He was chairman of the Council for 3 years.
Taking time to talk to the older villagers made Dad realise that their stories needed to be recorded if they were not to be lost for ever. Thus began the process which would result in a history of Fenstanton, followed by one of Hilton. With a readers ticket for Cambridge University and digging around in local archives he was able to indulge his love of historical research.
Just this year Dad wrote notes on “People of the British Isles” ” Religions of India” and “Religions of the British Isles” – just to keep his mind exercised.
A generous man of integrity and intellect with a strong sense of justice and great sense of humour. At ease in company whether on the Royal Yacht Britannia or the Crown and Pipes. That was Jack Dady – a wonderful father, grandfather and friend.”
Patricia Jones – taken from her Eulogy presented at Jack’s funeral.
Dear fellow Fenstanton people.
I met Jack when we moved into the thatched cottage next to the Baptist chapel. We then moved to Yelling after a few lovely years in Fenstanton What a lovely man. I am very very sad
I am very sad to hear that Mr. Dady, has died, I have very many memories of him, We always use to have a chat when I was on my way taking my children to school, Today my 7 year old daughter came home from school with a prayer she had wrote for Mr. Dady (what a lovely thought) A wonderful man, who will be sadly missed.
Was very, very sad to hear of the passing of the lovely Jack Dady. Had the good fortune to spend some time with him recording an oral history interview for the Huntingdonshire Heritage Programme in 2004. It was fun! Jack then came along to a special event at Wheatfield School where the children had been learning about the history of St Ives and he was a real hit with them too. Will cherish his book.
We have known Jack since we were very young, we always shared an interest in birds, and the wild life, found across the fields down the village Fen, this we shared up to recent years. A lovely man who will sadly be missed from the village , sleep well Jack.
Lewis & Chrissie Bowles
I write as Chairman of the 1st Fenstanton & Hilton Scout Group to say how wonderfully supportive Jack was, and how much we shall miss him.
Over the years he was always there to help us keep the fun going – from buying stamps at Christmas Post time, to kind donations to coming along and talking to the youngsters themselves. It really was a sight to behold when a room full of normally very noisy youngsters sat wrapt and listened as he talked.
He was a true gentleman who gave us as a Scout Group the most precious gift anyone can – his time.
We hope to be able to send at least one representative along to the service on January 20th as a small token of our thanks for all he did for us.