Barry Keepence

I was standing on the roof of Drumlanrig Castle some 70 miles from home when I first spoke to Barry. I was installing some radio equipment when he phoned to ask if I was interested in doing some software development for his company in the South of Scotland. It took a while but we managed to reduce the scope of the geography to realising that we were neighbours albeit about 5km away from each other. It was a closeness that transcended that geography and we soon discovered that we were kindred spirits in lots of different areas of our lives; fellow geeks living in the countryside.

Barry was the best boss I have ever had. In the beginning (I have just re read some of our Slack channel) he was tolerant and nurturing, patient when I was new but after that, and once I had my bearings, he gave me all the support I needed to introduce technologies required to elevate our software to higher and higher technical levels. This for me was one of Barry’s strengths. He had the highest standards of engineering and he was willing to do the hard graft of research (I never really understood where he got the time to do this – he must have been on a device at all hours…) and worked to understand how this would effect the complex systems we built. He would have my back and would view and understand the issues we dealt with in the same way as I did. As we moved the product through phases we would always have discussed what was next and what we expected – it was a delight to work with him.

Living close to Barry meant that we saw a lot of him, Sara and Jennifer. A hugely welcoming family we (Alan, Sarah, Alexander and Tiggy) are only sorry that we didn’t get to spend as much time with them as we wanted to, lockdown preventing this more recently. I will always remember sitting in the garden or in the garden ‘shed’; it is, in my memories, only sunny and only fun. Our wood chopping adventures will be part of those memories, his fondness and knowledge of wood was something that kept us entertained through days of log splitting. I am the proud owner of a ‘Barry special’ occasional table.

What I’ll remember, is a knowledgeable and friendly colleague and a good friend who helped me become a better worker and better person. I’ll miss him badly.

Alan Mathieson

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