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Richard Petrie

North B 1972-77

As a member of the School expedition to Spitsbergen in 1976, Richard helped to rescue a fellow Leysian who had collapsed on Newtontoppen, the highest mountain in Spitsbergen, and pulled him to safety on a sledge. Richard also demonstrated great presence of mind and equanimity in the face of adversity when his party had been lost for over 36 hours in a blizzard. He rallied his fellow Leysians when the situation became perilous, made the right decisions and eventually led the party to safety.

Richard Petrie grew up in Cambridge, the son of an eminent psychiatrist. He attended St Faith’s prior to The Leys, and was the older brother of fellow Old Leysian Andrew Petrie and Uncle of former Head Girl Francesca Griggs.

After school, Richard won a place at Trinity College, Cambridge to read engineering and followed that with an MBA from INSEAD in France.

Richard was a man of adventure. He loved cycling, mountaineering, skiing and transatlantic sailing. He always enjoyed school reunions at Assynt with many OL friends, not least Richard ‘Strong’ Armstrong.

Richard married his dearly beloved wife Jane in 1986 and had three children, Michael, Charlotte and Madelaine. Richard was a successful industry executive and worked for a number of companies including Trafalgar House, Kvaerner ASA in Finland and BAA. He was a visionary who could navigate complex ideas with great clarity. Since 2013, he had been Chief Executive of BuildingSmart International leading the digital transformation of the built asset industry.

Richard was a man of integrity, uncompromising fairness and kindness. He was always supportive of and respected by his colleagues and friends. He enjoyed life enormously, and had a good sense of humour which was invariably combined with a loud roar of laughter.

Richard Petrie was born on 8 January 1959 and died on 17 April 2022. Lives are not measured by duration but by quality. Richard led a good, full life and will always be remembered with love and affection by all those who knew and loved him.

Words by Andrew Petrie, North B 1974-77