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Obituary: Ivan Markes – former A&T typesetter, train enthusiast and nature lover

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FORMER A&T typesetter and digital designer Ivan Markes has died at the age of 77.

Well remembered for his engineering and problem solving skills, Ivan was a lifelong train enthusiast and a longstanding member of the New Forest Model Railway Society and Bearwood Model Train Group.

Born in Pennington in October 1944, when rationing was still in effect, Ivan always recalled that he ate rather well for a "country boy" as he called himself.

Ivan Markes
Ivan Markes

He particularly enjoyed his mother's plum jam from the fruit tree his father, a gardener by trade, grew in their garden, among other home-grown, home-made treats.

Remembered as a slightly the stubborn child, Ivan utterly refused to play sports and was eventually allowed to do an extra woodworking class, a craft he refined and continued for the rest of his life.

His last project was a house for the resident garden hedgehog.

He left school at 15 to apprentice at the A&T and whilst he worked for a few years for other local printers, including Kings and Cox and Sharland, he soon returned to the A&T where he remained for the rest of his working life. He lost both his parents in his early 20s.

At work, Ivan was a natural engineer and problem solver and despite no formal qualifications he could quickly assess and repair issues with the old A&T Ludlows, Linotypes and monotypes.

His talent later transitioned to digital pre-press in the 1990s and he was instrumental in moving the A&T from a hot metal system to digital.

With his first wife, Rosemary, he had daughters Abigail and Sharon – known as Kirsty.

Kirsty has happy childhood memories of bat watching and wildlife spotting in the garden. She recalled: “Our cat William used to run up dad’s leg, like he was climbing a tree, to get to the worktop for his dinner.”

Ivan was instrumental in moving the A&T from a hot metal system to digital
Ivan was instrumental in moving the A&T from a hot metal system to digital

Although his first marriage did not last, Ivan found love again with Sandra, to whom he was married in 1979 until she died in April 2021.

He adopted Sandra's toddler son, Neil, and a year later their daughter Alisa – known as Lucy – arrived.

Lucy recalled: “My dad instilled in his children a love of crafting, arts and practical hands-on projects.

"We enjoyed many day-trips on the train to see museums and zoos, including the Natural History Museum which inspired a few Guinea pigs to be named after the dinosaurs.”

Ivan was a great train enthusiast and would frequently go down to the nearby bridge with his camera to snap any particularly special engines passing by.

He also joined model train clubs, the New Forest Model Railway Society and Bearwood Model Train Group, where as well as enjoying running his engines at club meets he became the treasurer for both.

Ivan loved nature and although he did not inherit his father's green fingers, he encouraged the plants and flowers that attracted butterflies, bees and made sure there was a "hedgehog hole" in the garden gate so the animals could roam back and forth.

He regularly donated to the RSPB and RSPCA.

Ivan died on 17th May and is survived by his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

The funeral details have not yet been finalised but anyone wishing to donate in Ivan’s memory can give to the RSPCA or RSPB.

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