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Obituary: Hampstead academic Prof Orla Gough had gift for business and friendship

14:00 25 July 2014

Professor Orla Gough has died aged 60

Professor Orla Gough has died aged 60

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Psychotherapist Marian O’Connor remembers her friend, academic and long-time Hampstead resident Professor Orla Gough.

In recent years Prof Orla Gough was a proud winner at the Hampstead Horticultural Society flower shows. Picture: Fabio AffusoIn recent years Prof Orla Gough was a proud winner at the Hampstead Horticultural Society flower shows. Picture: Fabio Affuso

Professor Orla Gough, a long-time Hampstead resident, died peacefully at home on July 12.

Orla’s energy and commitment to her work, her friends, her family and her many interests never failed to astound all those who knew her.

Orla worked at the Business School of the University of Westminster for more than 25 years. She published over 100 widely-cited research papers with a focus on occupational pension schemes’ liabilities and benefit structures.

Her research was multidisciplinary, spanning the areas of finance, social policy, human resource management and marketing, and in 2009 she was awarded the title of Professor of Pensions and Financial Services in recognition of her outstanding work in this field.

She was head of department, accounting, finance and governance at the Business School, where, under her leadership, the department greatly expanded, with increased courses, student numbers, projects and initiatives.

For many years, Orla managed to combine academic work with commercial projects in public and private equity markets.

Orla was born into a prosperous Dublin family, the seventh of 11 children.

Despite, or maybe because of, coming from a large family, she had a gift for making and nurturing friendships.

In fact, Orla brought her enthusiasm and attention to detail into everything she put her mind to, from friends and family, to fashion and interior design, to politics.

She was a serious and knowledgeable collector of English and Irish art, 1850-1950, and displayed many fine paintings in her beautiful home.

In recent years, she took up took up flower arranging and was a proud winner at the Hampstead Horticultural Society flower shows.

Orla, who lived in Redington Road, was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer two years ago, but continued to work and live the fullest life.

Three weeks before she died she organised an enormous and joyful party in her garden to celebrate family, friendships and her 60th birthday.

She will be sadly missed by her husband James Dodd, her children Eliot and Harriet (both of whom attended schools in this area) and her many friends and colleagues who were drawn to her beauty, liveliness and warmth.

She will be buried in Dublin today.

A memorial service will take place in London in the autumn.

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