Family and friends of a long-serving former Aberdeen councillor have paid tribute to her after she passed away at the age of 76.
Jill Wisely, who served on Aberdeen City Council for nearly 30 years and represented the Airyhall, Broomhill and Garthdee ward for the Conservatives, died peacefully last weekend after a battle with illness.
Her son Anton said his mother would be remembered for her passion to do the best she could for her constituents – as well as her love of colour.
And he revealed that even when she was ill, she continued to put others first.
He said: “Mum was incredibly brave. When I went to see her after she was told she was ill she was telling me to be happy.
“She was always thinking of other people, even when she was going through that. She didn’t tell anyone she was ill for a long time because she just wanted to carry on as normal.
“She had such style and grace. She loved looking the part and always made sure her houses were cutting-edge and contemporary.”
‘Jill is a loss to all she loved – she was a friend and inspiration’
Jill was first elected in 1984, to what was then the Gairn ward.
She doubled her majority in the 1988 elections – at a time when Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was unpopular, particularly in Scotland.
Anton said: “Her drive and integrity was really important as well. She always had to see things through.
“If someone wrote to her with a problem, it didn’t matter who they had voted for.
“Her constituents were very, very important to her and that was reflected by the fact she had one of the largest majorities in Scotland.
“For a Conservative at that time, it was no mean feat.
“She took the time to respond to everyone with a handwritten letter.
“Other councillors, regardless of what party they were in, would look to her for inspiration and guidance.
“She believed in fairness and always rose above political point-scoring.
“Nobody could tell her what to do because she was so driven, and that’s what made her such a good councillor.”
Jill transferred to the former Grampian Regional Council in 1992 after winning the by-election for the Craigton seat, vacated by Liberal Democrat Nicol Stephen after he was elected as MP for Kincardine and Deeside.
In the 1995 elections for the new Aberdeen City Council, she won the Mannofield seat with a majority of 363.
And in 1999 and in 2003, she retained the seat with a majority of more than 1,000 votes at both elections.
In 2007, she was the first councillor elected for the Airyhall, Broomhill and Garthdee ward under the single transferable vote (STV) system.
Jill – who was also mother to Paul and Tanya, as well as a grandmother of four – opted not to stand for re-election in 2012 and in later years cared for her husband Ivan, who was a GP, through his own illness.
The couple married in 1964, and Anton described them as “inseparable” during their 55 years of marriage.
Anton said: “Mum spent a lot of time looking after my dad, which took dedication.
“The two of them were inseparable. You could count the times they spent apart in their entire life together on one hand.”
He added: “Her sense of duty and care and her integrity and character were amazing. She was single-minded and that is how she got things done.”
Former council colleagues from across the political spectrum paid tribute to the veteran councillor, who lived on Countesswells Road in the city.
Tory councillor Alan Donnelly said: “We worked very, very well together.
“She was a big character and very popular. She was really a grassroots kind of ‘get it done’ politician.
“She knocked on every door during campaign elections not once, not twice, but three times to get her message across.
“She is a big loss to the city because she was really an inspiration to me and to the people she represented in Aberdeen.”
Council co-leader Douglas Lumsden, who now represents the same Airyhall, Broomhill and Garthdee ward, added: “To be a councillor for 30 years shows just how much she put into public life.
“Jill was always someone I could go to for advice and I will miss her a lot.”
Liberal Democrat councillor Ian Yuill, who represented the ward alongside Jill for more than 15 years, paid tribute to his former ward colleague.
He said: “I have known Jill since the early 1990s and last saw her about a month ago. She was a good friend, colleague and at times opponent.
“You could never doubt her commitment to Aberdeen and its citizens. Myself and many others will miss her greatly. I have lost a great friend.”
Malcolm Savidge, MP for Aberdeen North from 1997 to 2005, said he was “saddened” to hear of Jill Wisely’s death. He said: “She was a very conscientious and dedicated councillor and kind and empathetic person, rightly respected across the political spectrum.”
Jill’s funeral service will be at Queen’s Cross Church on Saturday at 11am. Those going along are encouraged to wear a touch of pink or blue in keeping with her flair for colour.