|26 Nov 2020|
Malcolm George Stephenson FRICS (OB 1948 - 53)
26 September 1936 – 23 October 2020
Malcolm Stephenson, described by his lifelong friend Colin Finch as “the consummate Old Brentwood,” died suddenly on 23rd October 2020. Colin extended this accolade to a fellow former President of the Old Brentwoods Society at the funeral at the Old Park Meadow service chapel, Dunmow on 17th November. Both men were born in 1936, attended St Mary’s Church School, Shenfield from the age of five and, in 1947, won scholarships to Brentwood School where they strove hard on various sporting fields for Weald House. Both left the School in 1953. When Colin married Susan, Malcolm was Best Man.
Malcolm did two years’ National Service in a Royal Navy Minesweeping Flotilla. After training in the Mediterranean, he was posted to the cold waters of the Arctic Circle on HMS. Pincher to participate in the Cod War with Iceland. His most memorable experiences were fire fighting a blazing merchant man and helping to secure his ship in a massive storm. Later, he helped support minesweeper veterans.
Malcolm began his professional career as a trainee surveyor: first with British Rail; then Simpson’s Brewery at Baldock; followed by a spell with the National Health Service at the London Hospital. A seven-year period with Ind Coope at Romford preceded 14 years with Trust House Forte, during which time he qualified as a Chartered Building Surveyor, specialising in hotel development and the leisure sector.
In 1985, Malcolm ventured into private practice with W G Edwards and Partners and became a building surveying partner two years later. He never retired, deploying his professionalism, integrity, standards, expertise and wide experience to meet his client’s demands.
Malcom married Brenda in 1967. She was a constantly supportive and loving companion to such a “force of nature.” Their daughter Jane and husband David have produced three grandchildren: Rosie, Arthur and Fred. There were many happy times together when Jane and David were living in France. Malcolm planned the renovation of an old stone cattle-shed on his daughter’s and son-in-law’s land. The French cottage came to life, hosting stays and parties.
Malcolm’s sporting attitude and love of games have been scarcely surpassed within the Old Brentwoods Society. The Stephenson hallmarks were enthusiasm, tenacity, a desire to win, a love of taking part and fair play. Being an OB meant ensuring that opposing teams were hosted to the highest standards of hospitality and friendship. On Old Brentwoods Day, he was always available for a squash match against the School.
He was elected President of the OB Football Club in 1993 for a five-year term and remained a member of the committee ever since. He joined the Arthur Dunn Cup committee 20 years ago and, again, was still a member at the end. In I995 Malcolm was elected President of the Society of Old Brentwoods and was a proud ambassador for both the School and Society. He was the “consummate Old Brentwood.”
As he played less football, golf became another passion. In the 1960s, he joined Chelmsford GC, developing a unique swing technique. Brenda took lessons and joined Bunsay Downs GC. They joined Thorndon Park and often played together. He played regularly for the OB Golf Society, was elected Captain in 1980 and won the Hough Cup in 1996.
Even in his eighties, Malcolm remained active at work and as a sportsman. A survey in the morning and a round of golf in the afternoon would be followed by a game of squash. (Much younger players scarcely knew what to make of him). He was an enthusiast for skiing, tennis and cricket and a member of Essex County Cricket Club and the MCC.
He has attracted many accolades: “a man for all seasons and all sports”, “an inspiration to all of us”, “a source of boundless energy and enthusiasm”, “fun loving”, and a “perfect gentleman.” Colin remembered Malcolm with “a characteristic tankard of bitter in his left hand, his booming voice welcoming us to join him and his right hand extended for a warm, firm handshake? His kit was always in his car in case a team was one short!
He was the most sociable, kind, generous and welcoming of people. For his many friends it was a privilege to know him. He may not have been superhuman but he was a super human being.