A FORMER maths teacher educated in Uttoxeter who went to great lengths to inspire his pupils has died aged 87 after a long battle against cancer.
Fred Gilbert passed away on Friday, October 19, at a nursing home in Stockton- on-Tees, with several relatives by his side.
“It’s only just starting to sink in,” said his son-in-law, David Holtham, 65.
“It’s a relief due to the fact he had not been very well.
“He had enjoyed his life but its quality was going down and his mobility was reducing.”
Born on October 5, 1925, in Marchington, the son of a builder and the youngest of four children, he was educated at Uttoxeter Grammar School before being accepted by the RAF only to be discharged because of poor eyesight.
Mr Gilbert took an apprenticeship at Rolls-Royce, in Derby, and was employed as a development engineer at a time when the aerospace giant was working on many of the engines which made its name.
He gained an engineering degree at night school and then took a position as an assistant maths teacher at Burton Technical School, which became Dovecliff Grammar School, in 1962.
After moving to Paget High School in the late 1960s as a maths teacher, Mr Gilbert rose to become head of department, a position he retained until his retirement in July 1983.
“He always put a lot of effort into what he did and tried to make it interesting,” said Mr Holtham, a retired solicitor.
Following his retirement, Mr Gilbert, who lived with his wife, Norah, an infant school teacher, in Branston, enjoyed caravanning and camping, renovating grandfather clocks, photography, building hi-fi systems and classical music.
He and his wife, who is now 90, moved to the North-East in 2008 after 40 years in Burton.
“Fred was a very straightforward person, very family-oriented and would do anything for anyone within it,” said Mr Holtham.
“He knew instinctively the difference between right and wrong and was keen you went the right way.
“He was always very kind and generous to us with his time and was a man you respected.
“The more you knew him, the more you respected him.” Apart from his wife, Mr Gilbert leaves their two children, Sue, 63, a retired nurse, and John, 60, a retired consultant paediatrician, as well as seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.