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Obituary: William J Prichard

Members will be very sorry to learn of the death, on 4 August 2004, of Mr William John (Jack) Prichard, former Lecturer in the Department of Adult Education and Extra-Mural Studies.

Born in 1915 and a former pupil of Leeds Grammar School, Mr Prichard graduated BCom from the University in 1938. He went on to work as an elementary schoolteacher in Leeds, combining this with teaching evening classes for the Workers Educational Association. Reflecting his interest in the education of adults, he took up a full-time post as WEA tutor-organiser for Cleveland after the war.

Mr Prichard was appointed to the then Department of Extra-Mural Studies in the University as Staff Tutor (later Lecturer) in 1948. In the following year, he was awarded the degree of MCom for a thesis on Development Councils and the relationship between Government and private industry.

Mr Prichard taught extensively on the processes of government at local and national level, and on the relationship between government and the economy. He took a leading part in the development of day release courses for trade unionists and of departmental seminars on politics and trade union affairs. His teaching was characterised both by great skill and a sympathetic understanding of the needs of students.

In 1955, Mr Prichard also took charge of the departmental Library. He fulfilled this considerable responsibility with conspicuous success. Writing in the University Review at the time of Mr Prichards retirement, his colleague, Dr Tom Caldwell, commented that it was a most demanding task, which involved providing books for almost two hundred classes in a wide range of subjects at many different centres in West and North Yorkshire. With limited resources at his disposal he managed not only to balance the books but also provide, if not everything for which a lecturer asked, at least a balanced selection of books for each class. He chose and trained clerical staff, who held him in high regard, and he worked in partnership with the departments library committee whose members had great confidence in his judgement. In addition, Mr Prichard was the Schools AUT representative for many years.

Outside the University, Mr Prichard, a man of strong conviction, was prominent in political life. He was an elected Labour member of Leeds City Council for many years and Deputy Lord Mayor from 1978 to 1979. He was made an Honorary Alderman of Leeds in 1984. Both Mr Prichard and his late wife were also deeply committed to the co-operative movement and in particular to the work of its educational branch.

Mr Prichard retired from his post in September 1980, having served the University for thirty-two years. In retirement, he retained his connection with the University, serving as one of the representatives of Leeds Polytechnic on the Court from 1980 until 1992.

The funeral has taken place. Mr Prichard is survived by his two sons, John and David.

Published: 13 August 2004