I am very sad to report on the recent passing of renowned and well loved woodworker and author Neil Scobie. Neil passed away on May 3, 2016 after losing the battle to cancer.
In early February Neil emailed me about a couple of stories he proposed to write for Wood Review magazine...and mentioned matter of factly that he had just found out he had cancer. He said he intended to prove the doctors wrong and keep busy in the meantime. Typical Neil. Straight to the point. No fancy, fussy words, just say it like it was. Now, so soon after, it's hard to believe that such a strong and vital man could be overtaken at the age of 63.
Anyone who knew Neil will tell you that he was universally liked. It does feels like a betrayal to speak in the past tense about someone who has left us so recently. I have known him for over two decades and I can truly say I've never heard anyone say a word against him. To me that says a lot.
To Australian woodworkers Neil was extremely well known. He really was the complete package. Expert all-round skills with a design sensibility that saw him make innumerable pieces of fine woodwork with a style that made each one instantly recognisable as a "Scobie". Many of his pieces were featured in Australian Wood Review magazine as either projects or because they were part of exhibitions. He wrote for several other magazines, notably the Australian Woodworker and American Woodturner.
He was said to be a wonderful teacher and over the last couple of months I heard stories of how teams of friends and students apparently were visiting him to help out. His dearly beloved wife Liz, was not only his life partner but an artistic equal as they collaborated on many beautiful pieces. It's not hard to know that Liz and their son Paul and daughter Anna will miss him profoundly.
We'll feature some remembrances of Neil in our September issue. I'm going to leave Neil's author's profile up on our website until then intentionally, so please don't assume it's an oversight. Rest in peace Neil.
Linda Nathan, Wood Review editor