The Old Boys' Association regrets to announce the passing of the following Old Boys. The Association offers it's sincere condolences to all Old Boys, their families and friends who have been struck by their great loss.
Kenneth Samuel Schmulow (1971)
Obituary: Kenneth Samuel Schmulow, 29 June 1953 – 11 July 2019, Life Vice-President, Solomon House, 1971.
Ken passed away on 11 July from esophageal cancer. In his last letter to me he spoke about death, not his, but of my father’s twenty years ago. That was Ken.
He had been battling it for a while in his stoic non-complaining way. He had just turned 66 and hated any talk of the stuff, the illness, the consequence. He would correspond about it, frankly and with an open sincere sense of engagement. He had an opinion about things. But would seldom allow you closer than that. Ken would probably not have wanted anything written about him. Which is why I am writing this. He would have welcomed, or at the very least entertain, a difference of opinion.
Ken was a man who was deeply private, a man of few friends and many acquaintances. That, at the very least, was one of my lasting impressions of him. Family mattered more than anything, and on more than one occasion he urged me not to wait too long, ‘you will never look back’, ‘kids are the best investment you will make’. He was right, I learned, and as with many other things, more on course than most. He saw the world through an incorruptible prism of manners and decorum. It dictated his every interaction. He was, in short, a mensch.
But Ken, the man, was not without his flaws. An ardent man will always rub up against the world, and he sometimes did. He had no time for people who lacked civility and would cut off without regret anyone who did not meet the measure of the manners so deeply instilled in him. A welcome burst of opinion in a world so lacking in principle.
His was a name I knew well before I knew anything about PBHS. He was a character of my childhood, one of the names that I would remember on my first day at school, and see etched onto honours boards. It was a name of a man who had been a friend of my father, they had adventures together, smoked on the koppie. There were fights and there was blood. But there was friendship and despite the fact that they never saw each other again after school – they would from time to time speak on the phone – and quickly rekindle around the memories of when they were boys.
I met Ken not long after his father Victor had died. Vic incidentally was also a Life Vice-President of the Association. He joined the directorate of the Association and served in various capacities. Mostly he would lend his insight and wisdom, ever unmoving in what he believed.
Ken was progressive, I think is the term we would use, and took exception to some of the more reactionary and frankly bigoted thinking of the day. He was human.
My father had broken his nose. The way my dad told it, it called for an ambulance. When I asked Ken, on about the second or third occasion I had met him, he said, ‘yes, we’d had a fight, I came off worse.’
Ken was a wonderful human being, he was full of life. The world needs people who are human, and he was one.
Ken is survived by Colleen, their sons Kyle (matric 2002), Jason (2004) and grandsons Noah and Eli.
Eugene Ashton, Solomon, 1996.
Mrs Justine Armstrong
It is with sadness that we record the passing on the 15th July of Justine Armstrong, wife of the late Malcolm Armstrong, a past headmaster of PBHS. Mrs Armstrong will be remembered as someone who ably supported her husband in his various responsibilities at the school, which included being the senior housemaster of School House. She also played an important role in the annual production with her work on the costumes. The Justine Armstrong award for music, awarded annually at Valediction, is one of the ways in which her memory will be perpetuated. A memorial service was held in Johannesburg on 19th July which was attended by friends and family as well as representatives from Boys High.
- John Illsley
SECOND MASTER, PBHS
Robert Allan (Bobby) Silverman (1952)
I have just learned with much sadness of the passing of my old school-friend, Bobby Silverman. He died late last year in Houston, Texas. At School, Bobby was a high academic achiever, a good cricketer, and a member of the then-Military Orchestra under the baton of the late Ted Jones. After matric, Bobby attended university in Pretoria, and qualified as a Chartered Accountant at the young age of 21 — a rare achievement in those days! He joined his father’s Pretoria business, where he later became the CEO. In 1978, Bobby, his wife (Ursula) and 4 children emigrated to the US, where he set up a very successful business enterprise, now under the leadership of one of his sons. Bobby had an infectious sense of humour, and enjoyed inter-acting with people. He was an adventurer by nature in both business and life, and he and his wife travelled extensively abroad, making a point of meeting people from all walks of life.
I know that his family and friends miss him greatly.
Colin Hultzer (1952)
Ian Murray Ingram (1960)
I would just like to inform you of my father's passing away - Ian Murray Ingram (DOB:19-04-2019). He was in Boys High School as a day boy, a prefect and 1st team rugby and cricket boy. He requested that I let the school newsletter know. His father, Alexander Ingram and brother, Keith Ingram, were also Boys high boys.
Could you kindly inform the necessary people and if possible include it in your next newsletter, as per his wishes.
Thanking you in this regard
Shalele Bernard Ngoepe 1997
Click here to read more >>
Clive Randall 1966
I thought it would be fitting for me to let you know about the passing of my father, Clive Randall.
He was both a student and teacher at PBHS, although both were for a short time, I think he would have liked both periods to have been longer. He had completed his O-levels in the UK when he came to SA and was originally put into Std 9. However, because of the difference in the standards between the countries, he was given the option half-way through his Std 9 year to move to matric. He did so, but often told us that he should have rather completed Std 9 first and then done matric.
Some years ago he went to his 40 years on reunion and GREATLY enjoyed it!
I was myself a student at PBHS and it certainly was some of the best years of my life. I dearly love the old school.
I've attached an obituary (similar to what was included in the funeral brochure) as well as an old photo of when he was a student at PBHS. I never knew the photo existed until recently!
William Randall (2003)
Click here to read more >>
David Alexander Versfeld 1969
David Alexander Versfeld born 3 January, 1952 tragically drowned at the resort that he managed while helping someone on the 5th February 2019. He matriculated in 69/70 as far as I know.
Dave loved hiking, running and was an amazing man who often spoke fondly of his years at Pretoria Boys High School.
Gwenda Versfeld (wife)
Ian Mackenzie (Mack) Rogan 1961
Mack Rogan, past president of the South African Knee and Arthroscopy Society, distinguished knee and orthopaedic surgeon, passed away in Johannesburg on 27 April 2019 at the age of 75. We will all suffer from the loss of this giant and pioneer of knee surgery in South Africa. Mack is left by his three loving children Francis, Theresa and Ruarri Rogan and his lifelong friend and wife Kathleen (Finegan) Rogan. Mack was extremely fortunate to have his entire family present and support him through his last days.
Mack has always excelled in every aspect of his life, and his schooling was no exception. His senior high school was Pretoria Boy's High, and in his final year of school, he was head prefect. He passed his matriculation with distinction in 1961.
After he matriculated, he studied at the University of the Witwatersrand for his MB BCh degree in medicine. In his third year, he undertook to do a BSc majoring in microanatomy and biochemistry. He obtained his BSc in 1964 and completed his medical training at the University of the Witwatersrand qualifying as a medical doctor in 1968 with his MB BCh degree. In 1969, Mack did his housemanship under Prof D J du Plessis, who had a reputation for being a severe taskmaster.
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Amanda van Zyl 2003 - 2018
It was with great sadness that the school learnt of the passing of Amanda van Zyl on the 1st May 2019 after a long illness.
Amanda joined the staff at Boys High after an extended career at the State Theatre where, amongst other things, she was responsible for public relations and Front of House management. She filled the newly-created role of Head of Cultural Activities which was set up to fill the growing need for an expanded cultural programme at the school. In addition, she took on the role of oversight of the existing clubs and societies, giving guidance and helping them grow.
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Cliff Saunders (1951)
Well-known SABC TV news reporter and commentator, Cliff Saunders, passed away on May 6 at age 79. He died of heart failure in his townhouse in a Northcliff complex in Johannesburg. His health had been deteriorating for the previous three years.
Cliff matriculated at the School in the mid 1950s.
He worked for the SABC for 33 years until he retired in 1994 and was considered controversial by many because of his pre-eminent television coverage in the late 1970s and 1980s, especially during the pre-Namibian independence era and the Angolan War.
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Donald (Don) Finlay Dick (1951)
30.04.1934 – 28.02.2019
It is with deep regret that I inform you of the death of Don. He died in his home in Shelley Point on the West Coast after a bravely fought battle with cancer. He is survived by his wife Val and son Robert. Don matriculated in 1951 and then went on to achieve a B Com degree at Tukkies and then a MBA through Unisa.
He was an extremely hard worker and became a very successful businessman. Don’s dry wit and incredible sense of humour will be long remembered by those who knew and loved him.
Submitted by Alleyn Field on behalf of Val and Robert
Vernon Edward Oliver 1965
It is with great sadness I have to inform you that he passed away in October last year from very aggressive bladder cancer.
Vernon always spoke of his school days as though they were yesterday.
Click here to read an obituary by L. Kok
Dacre Punt 1954
My name is Mark Thurstain and I’m a friend of Dacre Dacre Punt, a PHBS old boy. It is with great sadness that I have to let you know that Dacre has passed away. After a long illness, that he refused to let constrain his life, he died peacefully in his sleep at the Marie Curie Hospice in London on the 27th October 2018.
With kind regards
Jeffery John Michael Wilkins (1950)
This is actually super late. I didn't know this page existed and stumbled onto it by accident. My dad was very proud to have attended Pretoria High School for Boys.
His name was Jeffery John Michael Wilkins and he was killed in Tyler Texas USA in 2000.
I would just like you to know. He was one of the finest men around and is sorely missed by his 3 children, 6 grand children and 4 great grandchildren.
Emmanuel Thomas Herbert (Tom) Bourquin (1952)
Mr Tom Bourquin passed away on 13 October at age 81.
He served both PBHS and the wider educational field over a period of more than 60 years with aplomb. He enjoyed successful teaching spells at our School and King Edward V11, and then went on to St Stithians, where he was a committed and popular teacher and coach.
He lived on the property there with his gracious wife, Sheila, and their toddlers, Lynn and Jeanette.
His next teaching post was at Sandringham High where he was made Deputy Head. This was followed by his appointment as Deputy Principal of Sandown High and he soon became its Headmaster.
"It was at Sandown where I believe my Dad did his best work”, remarked his son Roger in a eulogy at a recent memorial service in Parkview, Johannesburg. Roger followed his father into education and is currently Head of the Mathematics Department at Roedean Girls School in Johannesburg.
Roger's further comments:
Sandown was one of the biggest and most successful schools in Johannesburg at the time. They had about 1 300 pupils when he was Head there. Being a Headmaster of any school is an extremely difficult and demanding job. Gaining the respect and affection of staff, students and parents is almost unheard of.
From everything I have heard, my father managed to achieve this, and more. It has been moving to hear the glowing tributes paid to him by colleagues, students and parents from his time at Sandown.
In a letter to the Bourquin family after Tom's death, his Deputy at Sandown High, Mr Brian Wilkinson, expressed similar praise:
I regarded him as some kind of hero. I worked under, and with, several talented and highly respected headmasters in my life. And Tom stood head and shoulders above all of them.
His ability to care about and empathise with those who worked under him, even at times of great personal suffering, brought out the best in everyone. He was free of the kind of arrogance which is present in so many people in positions of power.
He also had a wicked sense of fun that made him such enjoyable company. When faced with tricky situations in my years in senior positions, I would always ask myself what Tom would have done. I admired and loved Tom, and am proud to have been able to call him my friend.
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Rodney Carl Stephen Meyer (1962)
Rod Meyer was at PBHS as a boarder in Rissik House from 1958-1962. He matriculated in 1962, was a school prefect, played 1st XV and did well at Athletics. He went on to Wits, where he graduated as a Mechanical Engineer in 1967. After qualifying, he first joined Highveld Steel in Witbank, where he spent the rest of his working life. After 4 years at Highveld he joined Rand Carbide, who were later taken over by Highveld. At Rand Carbide he gained valuable experience as a project engineer in air filtrations systems, which he was able to develop further on his return to Highveld Steel. He visited Scandinavia, Germany, Japan and Australia studying advanced systems for Air Pollution. In 1998 he was asked to organise the 11th World Clean Air Congress which was held in Durban, where he was recognised by the International Union of Air Pollution and Environmental Protection Associations. He retired from Highveld in 2004.
His interests included music (singing, nurtured originally at Boys High with Gilbert and Sullivan), a youth gospel band where he sang and played guitar and a double bass in his university days and singing in his church choir. His other interests included photography, building scale model sailing ships like HMS Trafalgar and HMS Victory and researching his family genealogy. He was also a member of the Witbank Probus Club, serving a two -year period recently as President.
After 49 years of marriage Rod leaves his wife Gail, a daughter Meryl and 2 sons both ex Boys High, Steve (1988) and Leith (1992) and 5 grandchildren. He died in Pretoria on 27th Sept 2018 aged 73, after a brave struggle to recover from a brain bleed sustained in an accidental fall in his home.
Robert Noel (Oupa) Brink (1959)
I learnt with sadness of the passing of an old and longstanding school House buddy on 4 August.
Rob (Oupa) and I walked up the School House stairs as new boys in 1955 and were in the Latin class until end of Form II when I gave up the Latin story because it had the better of me.
An incident I do remember very clearly, was that at one stage we decided thatwe would rig up a zip line from one of the big gum trees in the koppie, justbehind Mr Abernethy’s tennis court. So we stole some 10 gauge wire andtied it high up in the tree, and stretched it out to another tree some distanceaway to which we secured the other end. Oupa decided that he would take firstride and so he climbed up the tree and grabbed hold of the pipe that was thesliding mechanism, and then let rip. But when the time came to let go of thepipe and hit the brakes, he went into a tailspin and slammed into the tree atthe bottom. We all rushed to his assistance and when we got to him, we foundthat he was unconscious but at least breathing. Someone rushed back the SchoolHouse and fetched a blanket into which we loaded poor Rob and made an improvisedstretcher in which to carry him back to matron. On arrival back at matron’s office of course nobody knew what had happened except to say that he had fallen off a rock on the koppie. An ambo was summoned and he was rushed to the Andrew McCollum Hospital down the road, from wherehe made a full recovery.
Frederik Jacobus Fritz van Zyl (1943)
Good afternoon Messrs. Kirsten and Shorney,
It is with deep regret that I wish to inform you of the passing of our beloved Father, Mr. Fritz van Zyl, a member of the Pretoria Boys High School Old Boys' Association. Read More >>
Kind regards, Zona Svacina
Pierre Retief (1949)
Good evening from Australia
I wonder if you know about the passing of Pierre Retief, who was an old boy, and (I am pretty sure ) he was in Rissik house ....I would suggest that he left school in about 1950, maybe earlier ..he lived in Rustenburg for the most, but moved to Magaliesberg in later years, to be in a retirement village .....I am sorry, I don't have any more details, other than he was a VERY proud old boy...he and I played in a few old boys cricket matches.
School House, 1977
Arne Pitlo (1961)
Arne initially joined the Argus Group and spent 10 years in Journalism, working with the Pretoria News, then the Rand Daily Mail and the Financial Gazette. His break came when he was offered a position in Public Relations in the motor industry at Toyota. This was followed by a spell at Leyland SA, who transferred him to the Cape some 35 years ago. With the demise of Leyland in the mid 1980’s, Arne moved to Audi and then to Volkswagen where he was involved with marketing and public relations based in Cape Town. He was supportive of the PBHS Old Boy’s in the Cape.
He was a passionate family man, very supportive of his son Pierre and of his highly successful daughter, Mariclaire who had established her own popular restaurant "The Barefoot Cook” in Hermanus . Arne and his wife Mariette retired to Hermanus a few years ago and became involved in the local community, pursuing their passions and love of nature and the great outdoors. They loved gardening and he was dedicated about cleaning up and protecting the environment. Their interests led them to cycling, hiking, Rockart and walking, involvement with the local Botanical Society and Bird Club and travelling into conservation areas where their son Pierre runs his own "African Safari Experts” company, based in Cape Town.
Arne was an energetic man to the end , which came unexpectedly after a massive stroke in late June 2018. He will be sorely missed by his dedicated wife Mariette, of 48 years, his daughter Mariclaire , his son Pierre and his many friends.
Ed Meyer. - Overberg PBHS Old Boy’s.
George Hattingh (1959)
Good morning from a beautiful winters morning in Napier Overberg.
Could you please add my late brother George Hattingh to your "In Memorium"
He attended PBHS in 1959 but tragically died on 26th March 1959 during the Easter holidays.
Brian Lawrence Taverner (1961)
A short note to advise that my brother, Brian, passed away peacefully in his sleep on Sunday morning. He had been receiving chemotherapy for the past 3 months. He never recovered from the virus or infection which seemed to have enveloped him these past few weeks. Craig, his eldest son from Sweden, and his ever-loving wife Patsy, were with him.
God bless, Anthony
Click here to read a full obituary >>
Murray Davis Lynch (2008)
Murray was born in Nairobi, Kenya on the 9th of December 1990. His parents, Danny and Margaret were full-time Christian workers, originally from the USA. Allison, his only sister was born in 1992. Murray spent nine years in Zimbabwe where he completed his primary school education. He moved with his family to Pretoria in 2005 when Murray was in Form 2. He loved PBHS from the very first day. He participated on the debate team, tennis team, table tennis team, and many other activities at the school. He was the Dux Scholar for his class in Form 4 and Form 5. After matriculation in 2008, he took a GAP year and travelled and worked in Cape Town, Europe and several cities in the USA.
In August 2010, he began his studies at Princeton University with a focus on Public Policy and IT. While playing in a rugby match at school, he sustained a skull fracture with a brain bleed. Due to the seriousness of his head injury, he withdrew for the rest of the school year. During this period of time, he underwent intensive therapy and re-entered Princeton the following year. Murray also studied French during one summer break at Middlebury College and spent another summer doing several internships in New York and San Francisco.
Most recently, Murray was working for a business solutions company in Pittsburgh, PA where he was helping with software development. He described his work as "mydream job!" Nevertheless, Murray continued to struggle with depression.Many people remember Murray as someone who smiled a lot and was very friendlyand accepting of others. He also had a lot of passion for life but the head injurygave him a sense of hopelessness that no one could quite understand. Murray passedaway on January 31, 2018 unexpectedly. He is survived by his parents Danny andMargaret Lynch, his sister Allison and many other aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Tshenolo Nathi Seripe (2003)
It is with sadness that I inform all Pretoria Boys' High School old boys of Tshenolo Nathi Seripe's passing. He matriculated in 2003 and joined the SA Navy in 2005, where he studied Nautical Science through the University of Stellenbosch.
He will be laid to rest on Saturday 12th May 2018 in Johannesburg. His funeral service will take place at the Westdene Recreational Centre, Park Lane, Johannesburg at 8am.
He is survived by his daughter Akia and fiance Makgotso.
Hendrik Boet Mentz (1941)
Boet Mentz (11 October 1925 – 1 April 2018) was in Sunnyside House. He left PBHS in 1941 after completing what was then known as ‘JC’.
He was then apprenticed as a Compositor in the Government Printers where he learnt the skilled trade of ‘hot metal type-setting’ on Linotype machines. He enlisted in the army (unit unknown) in 1943 and served in the Italian campaign during World War 2.
He married his beloved Norma in 1948 and they had two daughters, Susan and Kathy.
He worked for the Old Mutual in Pretoria, Benoni and Cape Town. He was then transferred to Johannesburg where he worked for the SA Perm. When Boet retired in 1989, the SA Perm had been absorbed by Nedbank, and he held the position of Regional Manager, Marketing, Northern Transvaal.
Submitted by Pierre Béguin (1949) with additional material provided by Derek Brown and Mrs Val Oosthuizen (formerly of Nedbank)
Karl Röttcher (1953/4)
My Grandfather Karl Röttcher was a form 1 boy in 1950. He was in School House.
His parents wanted him to be schooled in English and for reasons which are unknown to me he was sent 400km by train to attend PBHS.
From the day he arrived at Boys High he was not overly eager to excel in academics. What he did however enjoy was art, shooting and running small businesses from within the School House walls which included barber services and biltong at a price.
In 1952 he completed the Danny Swart statue. The PBHS history books make almost no mention thereof - but in the 1994 version of the Pretorian the following was said:
Bottom: Mr Dan Swart, Mr Bill Schroder and Mr Karl Rottcher look on as the statue is hoisted into place. WHEN Walter Battiss embarked on the sculpture of "the Boys High boy" for the cupola on top of the main dome of the school he could never have anticipated the drama that would follow some forty-two years later. The "boy" was carved out of a solid piece of kiaat. The facts behind the sculpture have through the years been obscured by embellishments to the story. Originally thought by many to have been carved by Battiss himself, it came as a surprise to learn that one of his senior art pupils, Karl Rottcher, did the bulk of the carving. Apparently Battiss only reserved the carving of the face and genitals for himself.
On Friday 19 August, less than two months after he was removed, "Danny Swart" was returned to his place of honour. It was particularly moving to have both Mr Karl Rottcher and Mr Dan Swart present at the replacement ceremony. It should be noted that the funds have not yet been raised to pay for the full cost of the restoration project and any further donations would be appreciated. Other people who need to be thanked for their part in this venture include: Dr Buks Maré and Mr Wim Kossen for their help with the physical removal and replacement of the sculpture; Mr Werner Obermeyer for making the mounting for the replacement and, of course, Dr Trebot Barry without whose energy and motivation, this project would never have taken place.
(I apologise if this may be confusing - these are extracts copied from the digital version of what I think is the 1994 Pretorian.)
On the bottom right hand side of page 7 of the 2001 Pretorian there is a photograph of a boy standing next to the statue, that boy is my grandfather. (I believe the original is in the museum).
My grandfather did not matriculate - somewhere during his form 4 or 5 year he decided that " he had now learned enough" and he "knew what he had to know".
The story told by his age old friend - Glen Smith was that during an exam my grandfather simply got up and decided he had now had enough of school - he walked to his younger brother's (Peter Rottcher's) class and asked him "kom jy saam?" - he did. His younger brother went back to school - he did not.
He was well known to Mr Bill Schroder and had an extreme love and passion for the school.
His son Robert Max Rottcher attended Boys high and we, his grandsons, literally had no choice but to attend PBHS. He was extremely proud that all of his grandsons had been accepted into PBHS, and was equally proud when we were accepted into School House. His daughter Louise was also given no option but to attend Girls High.
He was an advocate of the school and would tell anyone who would listen how good the school was.
He sadly passed away on 8 February 2018 after a long period fighting diabetes.
Thanks to him when my brothers and I attended PBHS from 2001 to 2011 we were the third generation of our family to do so.
Heinrich van den Berg (2007)
Click here to view a copy of the 1994 Pretorian
Keith Ernest Gibbs (1952)
It was almost exactly a year ago that we acknowledged Keith Gibbs' 70 years of association with Pretoria Boys High School. This was done at a Friday assembly and it was fitting that his beloved wife Di was there by his side as the school rose to acknowledge this remarkable achievement - firstly as a Form I boy who rode to school on his bicycle from Riveira and later Sunnyside, ducking through a hole in the fence to gain access, then as a master where many a boy was brought to a shuddering halt by the words "That Boy", as an Old Boy and finally as the first curator of our school museum, a position he held for 13 years and one he loved so much.
Mr Gibbs was one of the first staff members I met, along with my family, as we walked around the school for the first of many times. He was tasked as part of a welcome to the new Headmaster and his family to show us round the school. This would be the 6th Headmaster he had worked with. He took us into his special place, the museum, where he explained as he had many times over, the history of the school and, what the school meant to him and to so many thousands of people. It was very clear how much it meant to him but this was also the first indication I had of the man himself and his special, caring nature as he showed me a photograph of my father in the Sunnyside U15 tennis team and the register entry of my father from 1951 which he had taken the trouble to find. This was important to him that I felt part of his school.
From the time when Keith first entered these gates in January 1947 to last week, when, despite being terribly ill and in great pain, he asked to see his beloved school again and was driven round as per his request with his family, Keith described Boys High as his own happy place, a place where he felt home and where he felt he belonged. It is going to be hard to imagine Boys High without Keith.
Click here to read more >>
OLDER IN MEMORIAM >>