William Robert Heatley (1909 -1995)
Bob Heatley was a partner of Daffern & Co from 1935 until his retirement in 1975.
Born in Foleshill, Coventry in 1909, Bob was the son of William Stanley Heatley. His father was a long serving Daffern & Co employee, who it would appear effectively managed the firm for Thomas Mason Daffern during the 1910s and 1920s and became the managing executive of what has now become the Coventry Building Society.
Bob Heatley completed his education first at the local Bablake School and then at Rydal School in Colwyn Bay. He came from a religious family and was brought up as an active member of the Lockhurst Lane Methodist Church, where he developed a great interest in music and in theatricals, writing and taking part in a number of plays.
His musical interest never left him. For a 21st birthday present he was sent on a visit to Bayreuth to stimulate his great interest in Wagner; and at the other end of the scale he grew to love the work of Gilbert and Sullivan to such an extent that he claimed to know all the words and music of every one of their operas.
He also began a serious study of hymnology in the early 1940’s, both words and music, and built up a collection (which he left to Durham University) of nearly all, if not all, of the hymnals of every denomination ever published in our language. He delighted to talk about hymns, and in particular the output of John Charles Wesley and Samuel Sebastian Wesley. Another early surprising interest was in the subject of Roman Law, especially as his vocational studies were in the profession of accountancy.
Having qualified as a chartered accountant, Bob was admitted as a partner of Daffern & co in 1935 and alongside Phil Mead rose to be senior partner of the firm and was highly respected in the professional and business life of the City of Coventry.
Together with Phil Mead, Bob was the driving force in a period of significant growth, with Daffern & Co becoming the leading firm of Chartered Accountants in Coventry in the 1950s and 60s.
He became Secretary of several well-known small Coventry companies and was a Director for many years (and twice Chairman) of the then Coventry Economic Building Society.
He was over decades generous in helping and advising many local church and other charities with their accounts as auditor, including the Holy Trinity Coventry Church Estate Charity, and was involved with the Trinity Lodge Benevolent Fund (being a trustee for over 40 years) and the Sellars Memorial Trust. He became chairman of the Trustees of Coventry General Charities and of Eventide Homes and was a Governor of the Coventry School Foundation (Bablake and King Henry VIII).
Bob never married. He always kept very high professional standards and he expected the same in others; yet he was also ever willing to give useful friendly and practical advice and assistance whenever asked. And he was always respected for his wisdom, knowledge and sound common sense.
A man of faith, loyalty, courtesy and steadfastness, he brought all these and many other virtues to bear in his freemasonry which became a great pillar of his life,
Bob was a mason for approaching 60 years. W.Bro. ‘Bob’ was initiated into Trinity Lodge on 6th December 1934. His masonic record was outstanding and he was ultimately granted the rank of P.Prov.S.G.W.in 1984. He was appointed to Grand Lodge in 1956 as P.A.G.D.C. and was finally promoted to the very high rank of P.S.G.D. in 1976. Much of the above has been extracted from a biography of Bob on the Trinity Lodge 254 website
Bob Heatley retired as a partner in Daffern & Co on 30 June 1975, but continued to come into the Coventry office until ill health prevented him from doing so in 1990.
He died on 4th March 1995.