By Alan Douglas
As a shy English-speaking boy in the predominantly Afrikaans community of Montagu, Robin may not have found his early school days altogether happy, but after a year as a boarder at Dryfe House under Stan Hunter and at Rosedale thereafter, he blossomed. Lasting friendships were forged. The seniors, especially of course the top sportsmen, were his heroes. He was bright enough always to be near the top of the class. He proved a good sportsman, doing well at gymnastics, shooting and rowing, and showing promise as a scrum-half. He was kept out of the SACS 1st XV by his good friend Patrick van der Spuy, but was thrilled to be in the touring team to Natal in mid-year 1961, his matric year. He did play in a few matches. As Deputy Head Prefect he made the Rhodes Scholarship candidates list. Around that time he met Geraldine, sister of his schoolmate Clive Edwards, destined to be the one great love of his life. The next year was spent in the Naval Gym. At the end-of-year passing out parade he was awarded the Sword of Honour as top cadet of the year.
In 1963 he joined the Admin Staff of Parliament. He also regsitered for a BA at UCT. He attained his degree as part-time student, having attained an impressive 4 class medals.
His marriage to “Jet” was of course the highlight of his life. And life was great, with their children James and Nicola following. The family lived happily in Llandudno. A sport-loving family, time was always made for gym, squash, golf and sailing Robin’s yacht. Time too for spending with the Edwards and Douglas families, for friends, for Round Table, and of course for SACS, Robin’s other great love.
His career flourished. In due course he was appointed to the top post, Secretary to Parliament, a position he held with distinction. Then at the time of the transfer to the new regime he found he and the new speaker, Frene Ginwala, could not work together, and he took early retirement.
As a Committee Member and Honorary Vice President of the OBU, Robin served SACS with great enthusiasm and commitment as the Minute Secretary and Dinner Organiser for many years.
Years later, Robin and Jet moved to the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley near Hermanus. All was well until in 2011 when Jet was found to have cancer. Robin had to witness her slow but sure deterioration until her death in 2013. He took this badly, and it affected his balance. He died on 26th January in the ICU in the Hermanus Medi-Clinic, having suffered multiple injuries as the result of a heavy fall.
At the service in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley on 31st January, tribute was paid to a man who had enriched the lives of all who had come to know him as an elegant good humoured gentleman. He would have been so proud to see the SACS Old Boys who had come to bid him farewell.