Known to friends and family as Ena, Alexina Hossack Weir was born in 1914 and was the oldest of four children. She was educated at Queen's Park School in Glasgow, where she excelled at science and won the Muirhead Scholarship to study Applied Chemistry at the Royal Technical College. She attended classes there from 1932-1936. At the end of her first year, having narrowly missed out on the Governors' Scholarship and Prize of £5 in Books, the Committee on Mathematics, Natural Philosophy, and Natural Science recommended that she should receive a special prize of £5 in books. In 1936, she qualified for the College Diploma and Associateship in Chemistry and, under the scheme of affiliation that then existed between the College and the University of Glasgow, for a BSc (Hons) in Applied Chemistry from the latter institution. A member of the Andersonian Chemical Society, she also served on the Committee of the female students' union, 'the Muirhead', of which she became Secretary and latterly President (a caricature drawing of her as Muirhead Secretary appears in the student magazine, 'The Mask', vol.XIX, no.4 (January 1935), p.93). After graduating, she worked for a brief period in The City Analysts and subsequently as an analytical chemist for Bilsland's Bakery. She married another student of the Royal Technical College, Thomas O'Beirne, in 1942 and the couple had two children. Ena was widowed in 1975 and died in 2000.