Retired Buckie High School guidance teacher, Joan Jagger, has died aged 67.
Known for her ability to bring the best out of her pupils, more than 200 former students took to Facebook to express their condolences and gratitude, following the family’s announcement of her death.
We look back at the life of one of Buckie’s best-loved teachers.
Born in 1954, Mrs Jagger started life as Joan Thomson, one of four children raised in Lossiemouth.
Her father, Joseph Campbell Thomson was a fisherman, and his wife Mary a personal assistant.
Alongside her siblings Sandra, Linda and Campbell, she began her education in Lossiemouth before progressing to the high school and then finishing her secondary studies at Elgin Academy.
Tragedy would strike the young Thomson family, however.
When Joan was just 16-years-old she sadly lost her mother.
Eventually her father would remarry and he and second wife, Sandra, added to the family.
With a love of languages, Joan left the Moray coast for Aberdeen in 1972 to study for her Bachelor of Education degree, specialising in modern languages.
Miss Thomson then began her teaching career at Buckie High School in 1976.
Although briefly married to Steve Allen, the school where she would spend her entire career would also be the setting for lasting love in the form of Edward James Jagger, known as Eddie, the then deputy head.
Having completed teacher training at Glasgow University himself, when the pair decided to marry on April 8, 1987, they were able to do so in the University Memorial Chapel of the same city.
The couple would go on to have two children of their own, and their passion for education and young people would evidently rub off.
Fiona, 29, is a paediatric doctor in Glasgow and Ross, 32, is a principle teacher of maths at Milne’s High School, Fochabers, engaged to Mikaela Shand.
Joan also embraced her role as Oma – German for granny – to the children of Eddie’s sons Allan and Gavin, from his first marriage.
Eddie and Joan would remain married until 2011 when Eddie passed away.
Son Ross said: “They were so well suited. They had basically studied for the same degree but dad preferred French and mum preferred German.
“Before they ever knew they would marry or even become friends my dad appointed my mum to her post.”
But while she had an expertise in language, Joan’s passions lay elsewhere and she switched roles to become a guidance teacher.
Though juggling both initially, the move to guidance would last until retirement.
And while this was an unexpected change for Joan, her legacy would be the changes this would bring to the lives of those she taught.
Fiona added: “My mum really was a people person and my brother and I knew, of course, that she was well loved by those she taught but we have been taken aback by just how many people took the time to message us about the impact she had on them.”
Within hours of Joe Dawson Funeral Directors posting an online notice of Joan’s death, comments started pouring in.
Fiona Fellows posted one of 250 tributes. She wrote: “Mrs Jagger was a fantastic teacher, a true rock to those who needed her.”
Ian Jack added: “Sad news to hear. A teacher that made such a positive impact to so many. Thinking of the family.”
Another tribute from Sara Smith said: “A wonderful woman who taught me to stand up for what I believed in. She was the reason I stuck in at school and went to university.”
Asked whether the tributes would have been a surprise to his mum, Ross said: “My mum was incredibly humble, kind and devoted to people. I think she would have known the difference she made because she was so determined to help young people realise their potential. She saw everyone as an individual and she really did believe the best about each person.”
Over and above
Aside from her role as guidance teacher Joan would also organise the school’s foreign exchange trips, the ceilidh dances and school prize giving.
“Again, that was all about her pupils being able to see what was available to them… what opportunities were just the other side of them believing in themselves.”
After she retired she would love to spend time in the garden of her High Street home in Portknockie, where she would often entertain friends and family.
While Joan had recovered from esophageal and throat cancer six years ago, a recurrence this time in her lungs, earlier this year, couldn’t dampen her spirits.
She joked that ‘it wasn’t time to write the bucket list yet.’
Joan was laid to rest on June 18 alongside her husband, in Hillhead Cemetery.
The service, which included the hymn, Because He Lives, which was sung at Eddie’s funeral 10 years earlier – took place in Portknockie Church where the couple attended church and Eddie served as session clerk.
Described as a real people person who always cared, the family added the loss of Joan is the loss of a great mum, Oma, sister, aunty, great aunty, friend and teacher.
The family’s announcement can be read here.