Tributes have been paid from the worlds of learning, business and the wider public sector to Frank Pignatelli, a “titan of education” who has died aged 77 after a short illness.

Professor Pignatelli was born in Anderston, Glasgow. His first job after school was as a bus conductor but he went to evening classes to secure the qualifications for university entrance.

After qualifying as a teacher he taught French, Italian and religious education at St Mungo's Academy, Glasgow. He became an education officer and rose to the role of Director of Education at Strathclyde Region, the biggest local education authority in Europe.

Several senior roles in the private and public sectors followed before he retired in 2007.

More than 10,000 unique views and comments have appeared on LinkedIn after the announcement of his death was posted on the social media platform by Angela, Mr Pignatelli's daughter.

Barry Docherty, positive psychology coach at Character Matters, wrote: “I've know Frank since the age of five at St Pat's in Anderston. He was a gentle human being, highly creative and always curious, especially about things that matter most like love, fairness, equality and always in the corner advocating on behalf of the underdog.”

Ross Martin, adviser on regional economies, described Mr Pignatelli as an educational titan whose impact was immeasurable.

Donnie Munro, Director of Development Fundraising at Sabhal Mor Ostaig College on Skye and former lead singer with Runrig, posted: “Frank was a brilliant, caring and kind man and I was very honoured and privileged to have known him.”

Jean Carwood-Edwards, Professional Adviser at the Scottish Government, responded: “What an incredibly influential, inspirational, highly respected gentleman.”

Yvonne Brown, an independent educationalist, said she was fortunate to have been an “apprentice” to Mr Pignatelli at Learndirect, the leading online course provider. “He was so gifted in so many areas and always willing to share his knowledge and enthusiasm for learning and learners,” she commented.

Donnie Munro paid tributeDonnie Munro paid tribute (Image: free)

Ian McKay, a former senior figure in the Educational Institute of Scotland teachers' union and a non-executive director at the Security Industry Authority regulator, posted: “Frank was a major player in Scottish education for many years and his team went on to make a big impact after local government reorganisation and … Strathclyde was broken up. In a world where every decision was hard and so many people were in need, Frank passed the only test that mattered – he was on the side of progress and trying to make things better for ordinary people. A life well lived.”

After Strathclyde Region was abolished by the Conservative Government in 1996, Mr Pignatelli decided the time was ripe to move on from local government. He moved into the private sector when he became group director of human resources and main board director at Associated Newspapers in London.

Having left that position, he took consultancy roles in the higher education sector and in the Scottish Parliament,. He was also director of the company direction programme in Scotland with the Institute of Directors. In addition, he was education adviser to the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, the South African Government post-apartheid, the Egyptian government and a number of bodies in the Australian state of Queensland.

Mr Pignatelli was a pro-bono adviser and mentor to individuals and charitable, voluntary and not-for-profit organisations and a pro-bono mediator in the family, community and inter-personal and special educational needs arenas.

He also found the time to write two modern languages textbooks. He retired in 2006 and, the following year, he and his wife, Rosetta, moved to Apremont in France, where the couple spent 11 happy years. True to form, he continued to mentor and help people with their skills development and in their careers.

He was made a CBE for his services to education. One honour he was immensely proud of that was conferred upon him was issued by the Halt Bar in Woodlands Road, Glasgow … Deputy Sheriff of Calton Creek (1992).

Mr Pignatelli is survived by Rosetta, son Paul, daughter Angela and their families.

The funeral will take place on Wednesday at 2.30pm at Dalnottar Crematorium in Clydebank. Thereafter, there will be a celebration of his life in the Mackintosh Suite, House for an Art Lover from 3.30pm.