“Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world. Unreasonable people attempt to adapt the world to themselves. All progress, therefore, depends on unreasonable people.” - George Bernard Shaw
Patrick (Pat) Owen “Muggy” McGlashan, Jr., Kingston College old boy, departed this earthly life on Friday afternoon, December 16, 2011. He was only 70 when he passed. He was born November 21, 1941 in Kingston, Jamaica, to parents, Patrick Owen and Mavis Ione McGlashan.
Pat, as he was affectionately known to his confidants, is survived by his wife, Benita; aunt, Gloria; sisters, Ouida and Sharon; brothers, Peter and Michael; children, Karen, Michele, Diane and Patrick; and eight grandchildren.
After leaving Central Branch Primary, Pat McGlashan, Jr. attended Kingston College, 1955–59; at KC he was an outstanding record-breaking schoolboy athlete as his fellows from Nutall House proudly recall. With the solid grounding of the royal purple under his belt, Muggy was also educated at Michigan State University, and Columbia University, in New York City. He earned a Juris Doctorate from Columbia.
An accomplished professional, he held an executive position withInternational Telephone and Telegraph (ITT) during the early years of his career. He later became an international entrepreneur with IT and other businesses in several countries. At his passing, he was still active as a business consultant with American Health Choice, Inc.
When Pat McGlashan, Jr. first represented KC in Championship Athletics (“Champs”) in 1956, he was following in the footsteps of his father, Pat McGlashan, Sr., who, in 1937, had captained the first KC team to lift the Championship trophy. In 1937, too, McGlashan Sr. became the first Jamaican to clear 6 feet, when he jumped 6 feet 1¼ inches, for his fifth consecutive victory at Champs. McGlashan Jr., also a talented high jumper, won the high jump at Champs in 1956, 1957, 1958 and 1959.
Throughout his athletic career, his father was always a stabilizing force for him. The story is often told that when Junior was jumping at his last Champs at Race Course in 1959, he found himself in a very exciting tussle with W. Freckleton of Wolmer’s. Indeed Freckleton had the edge, but that was until the senior McGlashan walked up to his son and took him aside. There, in a few minutes, father as coach, calmly ironed out what he had perceived as a flaw in the son’s technique. Junior then promptly took care of the Freckleton challenge, and won his fourth Champs high jump title.
Back in 1957, 20 years after Pat McGlashan, Sr. had set the high jump record, Paul Foreman of St. George’s College erased that mark with a leap of 6 feet 1½ inches. In that same year, however, young Pat jumped 5 feet 8½ inches to capture the Class 2 title and set a new record himself. That was a year when St. George’s had a very strong team, and KC looked to accumulate points to stave off the Georgian challenge; shortly before Champs, McGlashan was persuaded to also run the 100m hurdles. With only a short time to prepare for the event, Pat finished third. Still, even with the cognoscenti describing him as a "natural hurdler," 1957 was the only year that McGlashan, Jr. competed in the hurdles at Champs, preferring to concentrate on his pet event, the high jump. All told, the father and son McGlashan team won nine high jump titles at Champs. In fact, the two never lost a high jump event at Champs.
McGlashan, Jr. competed at Champs for the last time in 1959, when he won the Class 1 high jump for the second consecutive year after that epic tussle with Freckleton. More amazingly, however, later that year, in a development meet, he jumped 6 feet 5 inches, to claim the national schoolboy record, before leaving to take up a scholarship at Michigan State University.
Victor Rhone, a schoolmate, friend and fan of Pat McGlashan, relates that he was a natural athlete, a competitor and showman who brought flair to the sport. According to Victor, Pat, like most popular individuals, had his detractors. One popular myth was that McGlashan was just talented and did not work hard at the sport. However, Rhone rejects this stridently, insisting that McGlashan trained hard and was disciplined in his training. Smiling, Rhone further proffered, “Actually, with his father inserting himself as his personal coach, Muggy had little choice but to be very disciplined in his craft!”
The story is told of a Sports Day at Ardenne in 1957, when a cake which was to be presented as a prize went missing. Suspicions moved to focus on a group of boys at the meet. The name Pat McGlashan surfaced and he immediately became the prime suspect; legend has it that the popular Gleaner’s cartoonist, Leandro, had a cartoon in McGlashan’s likeness scaling a fence, while delicately and adroitly balancing a gateau on a cake-stand in one outstretched hand. When omertà ruled and no one would say who had run off with the prize, mass caning was prescribed as the just punishment. But McGlashan was adamant that he wasn’t even at Ardenne at that time, and so refused to be caned for the transgression, holding to this position even when he was told that a refusal to yield to the punishment meant that he would not be allowed to participate at Champs. This dilemma, however, was soon sorted out by McGlashan, Sr., who, on learning of the Champs ultimatum, promptly bundled the young man into his car, drove down to Clovelly Park and unceremoniously presented the Defiant One to the headmaster for caning. And that was that!
I first met Pat in 1988. I was living in the UK at the time and mentioned to my friend, Trevor Rhone, that I would be visiting New York. Trevor then told me that he had a friend living in New York whom he thought I should contact while I was there. He referred to this friend as “Muggy”, told me that his name was Patrick McGlashan, that he was a KC boy and had been a great schoolboy high jumper. Trevor was sure that we would get on just fine. And he was so right! When I turned up in New York and called Pat and introduced myself, it was as if we had known each other for years.
“Dallas!” he boomed in the phone. “Trevor told me to expect a call from you, but based on what Trevor told me about you, I expected that you were most likely to give me that call from the airport when you were on your way back to England! You see why you can’t always believe people? Trevor Rhone is supposed to be an honourable man!”
This was followed by my first introduction to the McGlashan signature chuckle and the question of when I would be coming over. When we got together the following evening, he immediately announced to me that we are going down to the Bistro for a drink, and since we shared first names and he was my senior, I would be Dallas and he would be Pat. After the first drink, he made another announcement. He said, “Dallas, you know, I am glad you didn’t tell me that you couldn’t have a real drink, because my father told me never to trust a man who doesn’t drink!” I later found out that Patrick McGlashan, Sr. was a teetotaler.
Over a few drinks, we then went on to discuss the state of the world, and the Bistro became a regular stop for us whenever I was in New York. That’s where Pat introduced me to his friend and drinking mate, Vic Owens, pointing out that he was now lucky to have two scoundrels as friends to make him look good by comparison.
No one has ever embodied the term "joie de vivre" as much as Patrick McGlashan did. The ultimate urbane character, Pat was a true friend, always available to put a positive spin on your worst moment. Totally unselfish, he always saw the best in you. At the same time, his supreme self-confidence allowed him to ignore and even forgive his detractors. The man Patrick McGlashan leaves for posterity the memory of a committed professional with a love and appreciation of others who displayed high ethical standards. In reflecting on Pat McGlashan, there is something else that is undeniable: he was his own man and he lived his life the way he wanted to. Most definitely an unreasonable person, Pat McGlashan was always attempting to adapt the world to himself.
Pat taught me a lot about myself and how to keep striving to achieve my goals, even when the odds appear to be against me. I will always cherish the moments we shared as we pursued business ventures together, discussed the state of the world, technological developments and sports. With his joy of living and his unfettered acceptance of all people, he effortlessly made life-long friends wherever he went, leaving with them the memory of his smile and the unique sound of his laughter.
The Fortis family honours Patrick McGlashan Jr’s lifetime of service. His spirit will live on, because the brave may fall but never yield!
Fortis cadere cedere non potest.