Frank Haughton was born in Irvine in 1915, the youngest of a family of five. He attended the local Primary School and went to Irvine Royal Academy where he gained his University qualification. He started at Glasgow University in 1934 and graduated M.A. in 1937. By this he had decided on a career in the ministry and entered Trinity College gained his B.D. degree in 1940.
Mr Haughton began his ministry as a locum at Fullarton Church, Ayrshire before receiving the call to this first charge at Gallatown Parish Church Kirkcaldy in 1942. In Kirkcaldy Mr Haughton set the pattern of his future ministry by totally involving himself in all the work of that church. His testimonial from them on leaving to come to St Mary’s is evidence of the respect he gained, –
We can fully testify to the admirable and conscientious manner in which he carried out his duties, to his efficiency as an organiser and to the enthusiastic thoroughness he applies to all tasks assigned to him.
Rev Mr Haughton was inducted to our church on the 9th September 1947. He immediately took a leading role in all organisations and forming of many new ones including the Boys Brigade in 1959.
Mr Haughton retired on 2nd September 2000 after 53 years at St Mary’s. Mr Haughton still continued to worship in the Church until his death on 31st March 2013 aged 97.
From Glasgow Hearld …
Rev Frank Haughton
Born: September 15, 1915; Died: March 31, 2013.
Rev Frank Haughton, who has died aged 97, was one of the Church of Scotland’s longest-serving ministers with a career that spanned almost six decades.
He devoted 53 of those years to St Mary’s Parish Church in Kirkintilloch, witnessing the East Dunbartonshire town grow significantly during the post-war era and making his own substantial contribution to the local community during his tenure.
Not least among his achievements was the improvement in relations with the Roman Catholic Church and the warm bond he forged with a local priest who became a close and long-standing colleague.
Born in Irvine, he was the youngest of five children and was educated at the local primary and Irvine Royal Academy. He went to the University of Glasgow in 1934 and graduated with an MA three years later, by which time he already had a sense of being called to the ministry.
As a result he went to the Church of Scotland’s Trinity College in Glasgow, where he won the prize for Greek and Hebrew, graduating as a Bachelor of Divinity in 1940. He began his ministry as a locum at Fullarton Church, Ayrshire, before receiving the call to his first charge at Gallatown Parish Church, Kirkcaldy, in 1942.
There he immersed himself in the work of the church and, on his departure five years later, earned a glowing testimonial for his conscientiousness, efficient organisational skills and the enthusiastic thoroughness he applied to everything he tackled.
Having married his school sweetheart Peggy, with whom he had two sons, they moved to St Mary’s, Kirkintilloch, where he was inducted in September, 1947. Again, he threw himself enthusiastically into the role. He set up a youth guild, encouraging many members to become Sunday school teachers, and established the 5th Kirkintilloch Boys’ Brigade company – he was elected Best Boy during his own BB days in Irvine.
While he was appointed chaplain to Kirkintilloch High School, founded the local Rotary Club and became its first president, Peggy started the local Women’s Guild. He combined this community work with his preaching, a daily routine of visits to many housebound parishioners plus frequent pastoral support to the town’s Waverley Park Home for children with special needs. He also served as convenor of Glasgow Presbytery’s maintenance of the ministry committee.
When he first arrived in Kirkintilloch relations between the Kirk and the Catholic Church were poor but he worked to build bridges, becoming very good friends with Father Gus Hurley of St Ninian’s RC Church and was involved with the multi-denominational Action of Churches Together.
Things got done under his leadership, including the building of new church halls and a manse. On occasion he ensured they did not get done: he joined forces with a local doctor to oppose the construction of a care home on Peel Park and save the recreation ground.
During his tenure the church celebrated its 80th anniversary in the current building with a service broadcast live on Scottish Television to mark the event in 1994. And on the 50th anniversary of his charge, in 1997, he announced that he hoped to continue preaching at St Mary’s “until the good Lord stops me”.
Three years later he stepped down, admitting he found it hard to break the pastoral tie with his church but acknowledging that parish work took its toll. He also found it difficult to conduct the funerals of those parishioners with whom he had spent so much of his life.
He continued to worship at St Mary’s and preached there each year on the anniversary of his retirement. He also preached on significant St Mary’s anniversaries, delivering his sermon without notes, as he had always done, to a welcoming congregation.
Widowed by Peggy’s death in 1982 and predeceased by their son Gillies, he is survived by their elder son Frank and five grandchildren.