It is with deep sadness that we have to announce the sudden death on 13th April 2015 of our Senior Partner, Jeff Halliday. Jeff was a huge inspiration to all who worked with him over the years and he will be sorely missed. The following was the eulogy delivered by his Partner James Morrison at the funeral which took place on 22nd April 2015.
GOOD AFTERNOON EVERYONE.
Anne, Paul, Michael, Maurice, Very Reverend Lacy, members of the Halliday and Richardson families, fellow members of the legal profession, friends, ladies and gentlemen.
It is my privilege to say a few words about Jeff’s career and working life.
Jeff was always involved in the law- firstly as a police officer then having graduated from Strathclyde University in the mid 1970’s he became an apprentice with C.Cameron & Co. in their Irvine office.
He qualified as a solicitor in 1977 and, as a Kilmarnock lad, he was asked to open and run a new office in the town. It was situated above Bert Lindsay’s newsagents – J.H.Thomson- with an entrance from Nelson Street and the first staff were Esther Nairn and John Mortimer who was the father of Ian Mortimer who still works for the firm.
The office was a success and more staff and a criminal lawyer were employed. In 1979 he was to employ someone who would be associated with him for over 35 years – me !!
The law was changing: apprenticeships were being abolished and were soon to be called traineeships. However, I was Jeff’s first and only apprentice and he became my master and my life-long mentor. I actually remarked to Anne and Michael on Saturday that, in some ways, I still felt an apprentice at age 56 !!
After six months, and my constant questions and queries, I was given the opportunity to move to the Troon office – but he wasn’t getting rid of me that easily !
In 1983 McSherry Halliday was formed by a number of partners with the main ones being Jeff and and Craig McSherry. The firm continued to flourish even when Craig left in 1991.
Jeff was the driving force and the Kilmarnock office was re-located to Bank Street; another office, to deal mainly with estate agency, was opened on the opposite side of Bank Street.
Partners retired or left, employees joined or moved on but at the heart of the firm were the foundations of a successful business carefully laid by Jeff and which will continue despite his tragic loss. Throughout the years a number of people remarked to me that the female staff – especially in the Kilmarnock Office- were particularly attractive. Well, they were known as “Jeff’s Girls” including his partners Caroline and Martha.
Caroline had known Jeff since she age 15 and joined the firm in 1988 as a newly qualified solicitor. She can’t actually remember when she became a partner but it was in the early 1990’s !
Martha had joined “Jeff’s Girls” in 1989 as his secretary but with his guidance and encouragement completed her Law Degree becoming a partner in 2007. He was so proud of his staff and his “girls” and even requested a special picture of just him and his “girls” at Alison McAllister’s birthday party last April.
In 2008 Jeff negotiated a merger of McSherry Halliday with Dale and Marshall and even though the two firms went their own ways again in 2012 I know he continues to be held in high regard by the Dale family both as a solicitor and as a person.
When I learnt of his very sudden death I actually realised that our friend Jeff had been a partner of mine for longer than I’ve been married to my long suffering wife Joyce – and she has put up with me for over 30 years ! My master….my mentor was gone but will NEVER be forgotten.
Jeff was so many things : a husband and companion, a father, a grandfather, a father-in-law, a brother, a brother-in-law, a passionate athlete and runner, a golfer (although he wasn’t that good at golf!) a very capable solicitor, a Dean of Kilmarnock Faculty of Solicitors, a partner, a boss, a mentor, a friend, - but most of all a lovely man.
Thank you for being part of all our lives – we will all miss you but will carry on as we know you would want us to do that.
Your legacy will continue both through your wonderful family and the firm name, as well as the business you worked so hard to establish. Some people are irreplaceable – you may be one of them – but on behalf of the partners and staff we will ensure that we maintain the very high standards of service which you set for all of us.
Jeff - Master – thank you…..and goodbye.