|16 Aug 2021|
|Passing of friends|
For most of his working life, Liebie van Heerden (1953F) lived in Pietermaritzburg with Pixie, his beloved wife of 65 years. Recently however, because he was in great pain and finding it increasingly difficult to cope with the stairs in their home near Cordwalles Prep, he and Pixie moved to a new establishment in Hilton Village - and it was there that Liebie, surrounded by his children and grandchildren, passed away at 2:00am on Thursday 29 July.
Liebie's primary schooling was at Cordwalles; both he and Pixie remained involved with that school for many years.
At Bishops, Liebie was in Founders from 1949 until he matriculated in 1953. He became a prefect, was a brilliant line out forward for the 1st XV, and a whirlwind bowler for the 1st XI, playing for the Western Province Schools XI in 1952.
Thereafter, he gained a BA from UCT and an HDE from Natal University before spending two years as a supply teacher in London. Returning to Maritzburg in 1959, he taught English and History at two or three local government schools, coached rugby and cricket, and studying part-time, got a Bachelor of Education degree from Natal University.
In 1974, he joined the publishing department of the famous Pmb business, Shuter & Shooter (once owned by the father of Liebie's great friend, Hugh Roy, OD). After some years as Publishing Director, he accepted an offer from CNA to head up a new publishing company, which in due course was part of mergers with the Struik, Heinemann and McGraw Hill groups.
In 1994 aged 60, Liebie retired but was persuaded by the Nasionale Group to join in their schoolbook enterprise - for what he described as three very happy years.
Apart from his work commitments, Liebie was a Rotarian for over thirty years, a member of the PROBUS Club, and a volunteer helper at the local Old Age Home.
Liebie and Pixie have three wonderfully successful children (the fourth, a daughter, having died some years ago), and their six grandchildren are all doing remarkably well.
In a recent email, one of Liebie's sons sent me some of the words that had been said at the remembrance get-together for Liebie:
"We have been so privileged to have such amazing parents, and during the past few days have been able to witness the strength of my mother and their clear joy for each other. Dad was very uncomfortable and in great pain, but never complained. He tried endlessly to smile. Indeed, many people will remember Dad as a gentle, kind, compassionate person - always with that beautiful smile! Rest in peace, Old Man: we are all so proud of you!"
News of Liebie's passing has gone out to his 1953 OD contemporaries throughout the world. And all have said: "Liebie old friend, we're so very proud to have known you! Now RIP!"
Paul Cannon (S53/54)
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