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Obituary: John Jeffrey-Cook, 1936-2011

24 June 2011 / Malcolm Gunn
Issue: 4310 / Categories: News
Former Taxation editor Malcolm Gunn remembers an eloquent and entertaining tax veteran

I first got to know John when I took over the editorship of Taxation. He was soon in contact to point out the odd misplaced apostrophe or grammatical error. When I had written that I was disinterested in such and such, surely I meant I was uninterested? And benefits-in-kind could not be foregone, only forgone.

But he was never a negative critic and was just offering positive encouragement to better things – as witness the good natured spirit in which he once called to point out another misspelling in the magazine: Jeffery-Cook!

When the editorial board was formed in 1989, John was therefore a prime candidate. He took a keen interest in its meetings and in the course of time I used to meet regularly with him to have more of his wise counsel.

John’s early career in tax was at Spicer and Pegler but, shortly after passing the notoriously fearsome Institute of Taxation fellowship exam, he joined Butterworth & Co in 1966 and was managing editor of their taxation books until 1977.

His meticulous precision was ideal for tax publishing; this was then the main focus of his tax work for the rest of his career.

If all this paints a picture of a dry academic, then nothing is further from the truth. He was an eloquent speaker, entertaining conversationalist and had a lively sense of humour. History, both in a tax context and otherwise, was one of his interests.

It was therefore no surprise, on retiring from partnership at Moores Rowland in 1998 and moving to Wivelsfield in Sussex, that he was soon investigating the history of his new locality. Retirement for John did not mean vanishing into obscurity.

He continued his interests in tax publishing as well as taking an active part in many organisations, not only of a professional nature but including the Worshipful Company of Tax Advisers, of which he was a founder member.

His style was always to pitch in and get fully involved as a team player in the front line

In April this year, he asked me to call and collect from him his professional books and papers. Despite illness, he was as sharply focused as ever and still maintained a positive outlook: a lesson for us all to learn from him.

He will be greatly missed. On behalf of all Taxation's readers, I offer sincere condolences to his wife, Gillian, and family.

Issue: 4310 / Categories: News
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