TODAY I’m writing something different. Not so much a column but a peoples’ obituary, acknowledging the passing of a dear friend and neighbour whose life and death had much to say about the good things of modern Scotland.

Jackie Marno died in the Marie Curie hospice in Stobhill of liver cancer last week. She passed away holding her husband ­David’s hand. It was for many people a ­sudden and unexpected death, and therein lies the first remarkable part of her story.

In an era defined by the concept of ­“raising awareness” and the powerful charitable movements that have mobilised around cancer, AIDS, cerebral palsy and ­autism, Jackie had chosen the opposite course of action, to be discreet, private and self-effacing.

She had partly hidden her illness from close friends and even the extent of the ­illness from her own family. It spoke ­volumes about her desire not to burden ­others and not to take centre stage.

Tell-tale signs like hair loss and ­headscarves became obvious to some, but you were not invited to ask personal ­questions or make the debate more ­public.

Jackie had an active Facebook page but resisted the psychodrama of daily updates and emotional blogging, choosing to live out her last chapter away from ­social ­media. A dignity pervaded her death, a dignity that the naggingly intrusive ­power of the world wide web may slowly be ­eroding. Rather than tell the world, she made the more dignified choice to tell only her closest friends and family – and even then, sparingly.

In a society saturated with podcasts, revelatory documentaries and stand-up comedians reflecting on daily life with cancer, Jackie chose to return to the founding principles of medicine and the NHS – patient confidentiality.

I remember one special night we spent together. It was at a new restaurant that had opened in our local community in Dennistoun. It was called Beat 6 and run by the restaurant group Six by Nico. The idea was that every table would ­contribute a proportion of their bill to the Beatson Centre. Unknowingly, as we reflected on the distinctiveness of the vision, Jackie was about to become an outpatient, when her breast cancer was first diagnosed.

The extra burden Jackie took on in her everyday life was astonishing. She would leave her home in Craigpark, walk down to Belgrove Station carrying sacks of arts portfolios, and make the journey across Glasgow and out to Clydebank, where she was a hugely popular art teacher at Clydebank High School known as Mrs McGoldrick.

Born in Belshill, Jackie was driven by a political will that out there in the housing schemes of Scotland, there were hundreds of young people yearning to connect with the arts, some held back by their ­environment or by a lack of ­opportunity in life.

On a tribute page posted by her ­colleagues and by former pupils at ­Clydebank High School, one person said: “She was the best of us. I only got to work with her for three years, but to me, she remains everything I can only hope to be as a teacher and a person.”

I regularly glimpsed that ­underlying zeal. She would wade through the ­mountains of student artwork piled on her kitchen table to highlight the nascent brilliance of a young girl at her school, or to find a portfolio she was curating to get someone from a deprived neighbourhood into Glasgow School of Art (GSA).

Like so many of her generation, GSA was not just an art college but the ­Himalayas, a place that had to be ­experienced and conquered. On the back of her ­kitchen door, Jackie had hung a group graduation photo from her time at art school. It was a reminder of just how formidable her ­generation was to become. In the photo was Christine ­Borland, ­Turner Prize ­nominee in 1997 from Darvel; Jacqueline ­Donachie, the ­Freelands Arts Prize Winner, Beck’s Futures Prize ­Winner Roddy ­Buchanan, Ross Sinclair the ­artist who had formally been drummer of the Bellshill indie band The Soup ­Dragons, and Martin Boyce the sculptor from ­Hamilton who won the Turner Prize in 2011.

If there was any fairness in the world and Scotland still funded high-end arts documentaries it is a photograph that would be touring the festival circuit as a film, not unlike Art Kane’s historical ­image A Great Day In Harlem.

What Jackie shared with many of her more celebrated generation was a worryingly pervasive concern that such a distinctive group of Scottish-born artists, many from working class backgrounds in unfashionable Scottish towns, may never be assembled again.

The Art School’s global success, ­notwithstanding the destructive fires it has suffered, means it is now part of the global industry of students, some with ­remarkable talents and others entirely ­forgettable, but whose parents can ­afford the eye-watering fee structures that are now commonplace in highly ranked ­education institutions.

Jackie Marno was nearly unique among her glittering peers in that she ­interrupted her degree course to have her first child Callum Stewart Jnr. She had met and married a West End schoolteacher and passionate Partick Thistle fan and ­supplemented her grant working part time at the Aragon Bar in Byres Road.

Years down the line, the father and son routine was a pleasure to behold, both played the pipes and they regularly took off around the world with the Tartan Army in an era when victories were ­desperately thin on the ground.

Her second child was born after she ­reconnected with David McGoldrick, a man she had first met as a teenager at ­Cardonald College, when she was ­building up the foundation credits to ­enter art school.

She had been living as a single mother in ­Glasgow’s East End, however, the new couple bought a crumbling town house in ­Craigpark and began restoring it. Art pieces hung on every wall and a human skeleton held sentry at the front door. Jackie’s own work was among the finest.

Self-effacing to the end she had ­assembled enough work to host a solo ­exhibition, some of them charcoal ­portraits that harked back to the style of Joan Eardley, a series that I particularly admired was reminiscent of the Perth ­colourist JD Fergusson.

Her series of paintings of The Boy ­variously said to be one of her own ­children, or a boy she had seen on Duke Street, or who, charmingly, she claimed was my own boy, Jack.

That painting hangs joyfully above our fireplace, the boy is looking down at a fish on a plate, through a surreal pear with his eyes staring through a hole in the fruit, the four fingers on his left hand were reaching for a fork. All the boys in the ­series had only four fingers, and as I asked what it meant she scolded me for needing an explanation about art.

One of Jackie’s children was a creatively ­capricious teenager destined for art school and was already building a reputation as a 15-year-old talent.

I walked past their house one ­evening to see a queue of ­gallus teenage girls in micro-minis waiting their turn to be ­painted. Jackie’s child had taught themself to be a master make-up artist, ­capable of restructuring schoolgirls from St Mungo’s Academy in Bridgeton into Pink, Lady Gaga and every passing online influencer.

WHEN Jackie’s child began the process of transitioning into the Glasgow Arts School student Ivy McGoldrick, their home became a place of both solace and bacchanalia for trans kids.

Jackie Marno was both hurt and ­mystified by the way that the so-called trans debate had become so divisive ­within Scottish politics. She talked to me at length about how quietly furious she was of the views and intolerances online. She had joined the SNP as a teenager, voted to advance independence at every election and worked tirelessly through the referendum, sometimes worrying that she might be in breach of classroom ­impartiality.

Here was a feminist, who had a transgender child, hurt to the core about the way such a sensitive debate was ­debated so destructively online.

This was a woman whose life ­experiences Scotland desperately needs to hear about but alas she has gone.

Rest in peace, Jackie.