Posted: October 31st, 2021
RUSSELL Steele (‘Rusty’ to one and all), former features editor of the Daily Record and sports editor of the Sunday Mail, died in hospital on October 20 , after a progressive illness.
He was an outstanding production journalist, and an ever-helpful colleague and friend to successive generations of Scottish newspaper folk.
Rusty started as a copy boy in the head office of the Scottish Daily Express in Glasgow, graduating to sub-editor. His qualities were quickly recognised and he was in demand from all the daily newspapers based in Glasgow, moving to the Sunday Mail as a sub, then was transferred to the Daily Record as features editor.
He later went on to the Daily News, and ended his career on The Herald, appropriately now in the same building in Albion Street where Rusty started his career on the Express.
The true measure of Rusty’s life and career has been in the number of glowing and heartfelt tributes from so many who knew and worked with him:
Ian Bruce in the Scottish on-line newspaper The Democrat: “Rusty’s skills were in production, as a sub-editor. He variously handled news and features and sport, chief-subbing on many desks in many offices. Apart from his eye for a story and the ability to lay out pages, trim the words to column length and come up with eye-catching headlines, he had a special talent for encouraging new arrivals.”
Sandra Ratcliffe: “He was a quiet ‘just-get-the-job-done’ features editor, willing to listen to ideas, always good humoured and likeable.”
Ken Laird: “Rusty was always very pleasant to work with, modest and unassuming.”
David Tattersall: “Very sad indeed. Just a lovely stalwart friend.”
Tom Brown (AMP Life vice-preisdent): “In the years I worked with him, he made my job easier and working life more pleasant. He always stood up for his staff and was uncompromising with editors and executives who were difficult for the sake of it. He will be remembered for the man he was, as much as being outstanding in an outstanding generation of Scottish journalists.”
Above all, Rusty was a family man, and his wife Cath and their family held hands with him as he died in Hairmyres Hospital, East Kilbride.
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