Dr. William Polson Binnie

Dr. William Polson Binnie, beloved husband, father, gentleman and scholar peacefully passed away on Saturday, May 24, 2014 surrounded by family at his Marblehead home. Bill will be remembered for his kindness to all he met, his generous spirit and for his love and devotion to his family and friends. Bill is survived by his adoring wife, Catherine (Careen) McIldowie (Ronald) of 66 years. His children, Sheila R. Bennett and her husband Richard of Marblehead, William Brian Binnie and his wife, Valerie of Mojave, California and Catherine M. Fallon and her husband, Patrick of Marblehead. His six grandchildren: Justin Binnie of New York, Jonathan and Jennifer Binnie of California and Aisling, Keelin and Conor Fallon of Marblehead and two great grandsons, Weston and Ryder Bennett of California. Bill also is survived by his brother, Dr. Hugh Sharpe Polson Binnie and his wife, Anne of Bethel, Connecticut and their children and families: Andrew and Lisa Binnie and their children Douglas and Samantha of Massachusetts and Bob and Robin Binnie and their children Gillian and Caillie of California as well as many nieces and nephews and extended family in Scotland. Bill was born in Falkirk, Scotland on February 20, 1924 to William and Mary Binnie. Bill grew up in Bainsford with his siblings: Annie, James and Hugh. Bill was an exemplary student who from an early age embraced learning and knowledge and as recognition for three years of perfect attendance, he was awarded a Certificate from King Edward VIII. Bill enjoyed happy summers on Islay, an isle on the west coast of Scotland attending Boys Brigade camps and later returned to Bowmore, Islay as a member of the Royal Navy and he fondly remembered those days on special occasions with a toast of Bowmore scotch. Although Bill’s heart was always in the Scottish Highlands his adventurous nature propelled him to great academic achievement and international travel with his beloved Catherine. Bill was awarded the Dux medal as first in his class at Falkirk High School and received a scholarship to Glasgow University where he earned a PhD First Class with Honors in Physics and Chemistry by age 24. Bill met the love of his life and wife of 66 years, Catherine, through his University roommate, James Ronald, Catherine’s brother. Catherine and Bill shared a happy courtship despite the backdrop of WWII. They enjoyed weekend dates between Glasgow, Edinburgh and Falkirk and shared a love of Scottish and ballroom dancing, walking the Ochil hills and Stirling Golf Course, visiting Catherine’s family farm,Howierig and sharing Saturday get togethers with family. Catherine and Bill married at Glasgow University Chapel on October 22, 1948 and after a honeymoon to Aberdeen, Scotland, family and friends traveled to Liverpool, England to wish them Bon Voyage as they sailed to Toronto, Canada on board the Ascania as Bill had received a fellowship with the University of Toronto. Even though they had humble beginnings the couple sent home care packages to their families in Scotland still under war rations. Bill then accepted a professorial position in the Physics department of Purdue University. This move to West Lafayette, Indiana in 1950 was the beginning of a decade of close American and international friendships as well as the joyful birth of daughter, Sheila and son, Brian. At this time, Bill and Catherine decided to return to their native Scotland to be close to family and Bill was employed at Aberdeen University as a Physics professor. They lived in the quaint village of Milltimber,overlooking the River Dee and in close proximity to Balmoral Castle. After a few years, daughter Katie was born and a favorite family outing included visiting Hazelhead Park on Sundays. The couple purchased a family home in Stirling, Scotland which they traveled to each summer to reunite with family until 1985. After eight years in Scotland, Bill was offered an opportunity in industry with Kennecott Copper in Lexington, Massachusettes as a research X-Ray Crystallographer. Bill and Catherine settled there and enjoyed twelve years of wonderful neighbors and many family visits from Scottish relatives before moving to Grand Island, New York where Bill’s research career continued with Carborundum/British Petroleum and they enjoyed being close to Canada and meeting new friends,neighbors and colleagues in the Niagara Falls area. Before Bill’s retirement in 1993, Bill and Catherine enjoyed traveling across the United States while Bill was lecturing to various Ceramic and Crystallographic societies as well as internationally to Rio DeJaneiro, Brazil and Tokyo and Nogaya, Japan and Calgary and Vancouver, Canada. A special trip included a cross Canadian train ride from Montreal to Calgary, through Banff, Lake Louise and onto Vancouver, Canada. In 1998, Bill and Catherine celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with family traveling from Scotland and close friends at the Boston Yacht Club followed by a Hawaiian cruise. Bill and Catherine moved to Marblehead to be beside their children and grandchildren in 1998. One of Bill’s greatest joys was to take his beloved, Catherine to lunch and then shopping afterwards. Bill made friends wherever he went and especially valued those from Dubes, The Marblehead Arrangers and St. Stephens Church. Bill did all the after school pickups for his grandchildren from preschool through the high school years. He especially loved to view Marblehead harbor from Chandler Hovey Park and take family trips to Ogunquit, Maine where he would walk Marginal Way and Ogunquit and Wells Beach arm and arm with his beloved Careen. Bill was known for his wit and wisdom, his eloquence, his love of words and his ability to articulate kindness and caring to everyone he met. Bill was a true gentleman who lived his life with grace and compassion as well as a grand sense of humor. He was known for his Scottish brogue, his stories, and romantic tales that included Scottish lore that left all listeners in awe of his ability to recount history and weave a highland tale of truth and knowledge into an intriguing story. He loved his darling, Catherine, with all his heart and together as a couple his life was complete. He was proud of his children and gladly shared tales of Brian’s adventures as an astronaut and his journeys to space where he remarked that he would see us in the stars. He adored his grandchildren and his legacy of love and laughter will live on in his family and friends as they remember his ability to bring out the best in all he met as he always made you feel special. Bill was always a gentle man who lived his life with dignity, grace and respect and we love you, Bill to the moon and back and beyond forever more. Family and friends are welcome to attend a Celebration of Life for Bill on Sunday, October 26th at 2:00pm at St. Stephen’s Methodist Church in Marblehead, MA. There will be light refreshments following the service and an additional tribute for Bill will be held in Falkirk, Scotland at a future date.        


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