Arthur Fuller (1926-2019)
Arthur Orpen Fuller (Ogilvie, 1944)
Arthur Orpen Fuller (1926-2019)
Arthur, former Head of the Department of Mineralogy and Geology at the University of Cape Town (UCT), died on 22 May 2019 aged 92. He spent 12 years at Diocesan College where he matriculated in 1944. He decided to join the Air Force but with the end of World War II, proceeded to UCT. He obtained a BSc (Hons) in 1950 and an MSc in 1951 for a thesis on the “Critical Zone of the Bushveld Igneous Complex”. He spent a year at Pennsylvania State University and then three years at Princeton, New Jersey where he obtained his PhD for a thesis entitled “The Witwatersrand System”.
Arthur spent several years in industry with Union Corporation and was involved in exploration mapping in northern Canada and Venezuela. He joined UCT as a lecturer in the Department of Mineralogy and Geology in 1957, becoming Associate Professor in 1972. As well as sedimentology, he at various times taught geophysics, geostatistics, economic geology, engineering geology, and was responsible for obtaining the departments first X-ray diffraction equipment. He also taught field geology and became firm friends with a Laingsburg farmer, Colenso van Wyk. Together they established the “Colenso van Wyk Field Station” that still serves as the base for second year fieldtrips. He was a member of the team that analysed lunar rock samples and spent 6 months on NASA’s Mars Project. Arthur was a fellow of the Geological Society of South Africa, serving as President in 1983-4, and was a fellow and member of council of the Royal Society of South Africa.
Arthur was an exceptional sportsman; he boxed at school, represented Bishops in Track and Field, cricket (First XI) and rugby (Second XV), held the SA under 19 javelin record, and was South African champion in 1944. He was the UCT golf champion in 1948, and in 1949 the Champion Golfer at Mowbray Golf Club. He represented Western Province and was the SA Universities Golf Champion. Arthur spent his last retirement years at Helderberg Village in Somerset West, where for many years he was captain of the golf club, and it was during his tenure that the golf course was converted from 9 to 18 holes. He was as passionate about sport as he was about science and retained a lifetime interest in both. Arie Poldervaart taught mathematics and chemistry at Bishops and had a great impact on the young Fuller. Arthur wrote, “To him I owe my love of science and no single person played a greater role in my life. I will always remember him as a friend and mentor”.
Arthur was married to the late Jane Low and is survived by his two daughters, Dorrie and Shushy, 7 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren.