Dr. James Rattray

Obituary of Dr. James Bristow McLeod Rattray

It is with broken hearts that we are saddened to advise of the passing of Dr. James Bristow McLeod Rattray (“Hamish”) on Wednesday, April 3rd, 2024. Hamish passed peacefully in his 92nd year in the comfort of the home shared with Judy Palmer, along with a love of horses, jigsaw puzzles and Wordle, in Desboro, Ontario.

Dad is now reunited with his beloved Rosa (2016) where they continue their journey together, which began with their marriage in Dundee Scotland and saw them cross the Atlantic by ship to start a Canadian branch of the Rattray family tree (It was the only country that didn’t charge them to immigrate to).

Dad will be greatly missed by his children, Nan (Mike), Euan (Sue), Neil (Renata), Graham (Maya Kishida), Colin (Pamela). Bapa will be happily remembered by grandkids, Staci (Kevin), Matt (Kelly), Jaxon, Roman, Kai, Sheena, Kalan, Sequoia, and Coral, as well as great grandchildren Oliver, Theodore, Clementine, Leopold, and Winifred. All of whom brought Bapa great pride and joy.

Hamish will be fondly remembered and regarded by his oldest friend, his brother Dr. Ian Rattray (Uncle Willie) and Sheila Rattray of Norwich, England, as well as many nieces and nephews overseas. Hamish was predeceased by his sister Louise (2012) and her husband Derek.

Hamish was born on February 10th, 1933 in Kirriemuir, Scotland to Dr. James and Helen Rattray. His childhood in a small Scottish village was spent developing his passion for football (Dundee United) and the sciences that led to university studies at the St. Andrews and the meeting of his soulmate, Rosa Webster. Leaving Scotland to further his academic achievements led the newlyweds to Kingston, Ontario in 1957 where Hamish started an eight-year tenure at Queens University, along with a bustling household of five children. Next, the University of Guelph came calling in 1965, where Rattrays relocated to Cedar Street. During his 33-year tenure of teaching biochemistry at the U of G, Hamish taught and inspired many students who went on to become scientists, professors, captains of industry themselves – as kids, it was a rare trip out of town where we didn’t run into the comment “Hey I took Biochem 258 with your dad!”. After 33 years of teaching and mentoring students, as well as serving on university senate, Hamish retired to become editor chief (Editor Emeritus) – for Inform Magazine (American Oil Chemists Society). After the years in that role, Hamish and Rosa retired to travel the world together as they watched their family grow. We are so grateful on dad’s behalf for the quality of life he shared with Judy on the farm (“where the horses don’t talk back”) for the past five years.

Hamish will always be known and remembered for his intelligence, wit, devotion to family, and the joy of a life well lived. Hamish enjoyed good food and drinks, all sports, particularly the Guelph Storm, puzzles, crosswords, good conversation, a love of music and time with his kids, grandkids, and great grandkids.


Cremation has taken place. The family will greet family and friends at the Brombal Funeral Home, 1 Delhi Street, on Thursday April 11th between 4:00p.m. – 7:00p.m. A private family memorial service will be held at a later date.

Always remembered and never to be forgotten. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Rosa Rattray Early Literacy Fund or the University of Guelph Arboretum would be greatly appreciated.

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