Laslett family history
Robert and Pamela Laslett of Birmingham
Robert Brian Laslett was born on 18 September 1923, at Watford, the sixth child of the Reverend Ruffell Laslett and his wife Eveline Laslett née Alden (page 145).
Robert trained as a Schoolmaster, then after further education became a Lecturer at the School of Education, Birmingham University.
He married Pamela Dorothy Straker in 1948.
Robert is a well known educationalist having written a number of papers and books both generally and on the subject of maladjusted children.
Robert Laslett - A reflection
Robert's funeral was held at St Mary's on 20 May 2002. It was a day of great
sadness for us and, most particularly of course, for Pam and the family.
It was a sorrow we all shared because we knew that we had lost the physical
presence of a 'lovely man', but it was also an occasion to pay tribute to
someone who was truly remarkable; a clever and intelligent man who had achieved
a great deal in life, and yet had always remained gentle and unassuming;
a man with many skills and abilities but, at the same time, a genuine simplicity
of nature, considerate and caring at all times.
In his funeral address, Hayward Osborne spoke movingly and eloquently about Robert (extracts from his address appeared in the July edition of Birmingham 13). He began by talking about Robert's early life and recounted things many of us had never known about the difficulties Robert had encountered during his own schooling, but how this had only spurred him on to a teaching career among emotionally disturbed children. When we look back over his achievements, it is clear that Robert had had an extraordinary and eminent career and established a reputation which was highly justified.
Any yet, for many of us, this was a side of Robert we never knew. So what are our fondest memories of this dear man?
Perhaps my most abiding memory of Robert will be the way he lead worship, ... whether he was preaching a sermon or homily, or simply reading a passage from the Bible. (It was often the smaller services of Compline or Evening Prayer, when I felt this most strongly). Robert had such a lovely voice; it was made for reading the Scriptures. He spoke slowly and thoughtfully, with tremendous sensitivity. I would feel a desire to just close my eyes and 'let the language flow over me'. It was like music.
As a Reader, Robert always took considerable care and attention with everything he did. Frequently he appeared to 'agonise' over his sermon. He always prepared so carefully. I remember one time at his home, he showed me his 'box index', - lots and lots of small cards in a box, all in a precise order. (I don't know whether they were indexed alphabetically or in the order of the books of the Bible, but they enabled him to refer to most subjects, most events and most characters you care to name with detailed notes and facts at his fingertips).
In addition, of course, he had several reference books and commentaries that he would study at length before preparing his sermon. And yet afterwards, Robert often seemed unsure of himself. He always appreciated a word of thanks and the chance to elaborate on some point he'd made. If we spoke together after a service, Robert might well say, "Do you think it was all right, Jonathan? I wasn't completely happy with it, you know." I sometimes think it wasn't so much a lack of confidence on Robert's part, as a sincere belief that nothing he could say from the pulpit could ever do justice to the wonderful message contained in the pages of Scripture.
Robert often gave the impression of being a very serious and thoughtful man (which he certainly could be on occasions) - but at the same time, he had a delightful sense of fun. It's impossible to give examples of his humour out of context, but he was always quick to appreciate the funny and the ridiculous side of life. Probably all of us can remember Robert's gentle and soundless chuckle as the humour of a remark or situation struck him.
Whatever he did, he did well because he took such care. When Robert set himself a target or took on a job, you always knew he would give it one hundred per cent. Robert did a number of practical things around the church. He tiled the toilet, fixed notice boards in the Piggott Room and made a new litter bin for the lych-gate. In fact, whenever he saw something that needed doing, his immediate response was to get on and do it.
I recall walking up the path to St Mary's with Robert, and then realising he was no longer beside me. He had noticed a shrub that needed pruning and wandered away to do it, getting out a pair of secateurs as he went.
Although he often seemed disappointed with himself if he felt something could and should have been done better, Robert was always incredibly patient and understanding when confronted by the short comings of others. His acceptance of other people's failings and his compassionate response to human weakness was a lesson to everyone who knew him. It was easy to see the ways in which he must have been a wonderfully patient and sympathetic teacher. Certainly, he was always a very caring and dear friend, ...so easy to talk with, and always so willing to listen.
My life was enriched from having known him, - and we shall all miss him very much.
Family of Robert and Pamela Laslett
RICHARD RENSHAW - born 3 October 1950. Schoolmaster, Kelmscott, Western
MARTIN HOWARD RHODES - born 11 February 1966.
JULIA MARGARET ALDEN - born 17 April 1952. Married.
PHILIPPA MARY RUFFELL - born 4 March 1960.