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News > Passing of friends > Bruce Milne (1954O) tribute

Bruce Milne (1954O) tribute

"Stoic to the end despite months of illness"

Last week we received this write up from the family of OD, Bruce Milne who died last year (15 November 2022) at the age of 86.

Bruce was born on 31st October 1936, the second child to Horace and Betty Milne who lived in Pinelands. He had a happy childhood and attended Bishops Preparatory School, where he strived for excellence in academics and sport. He was awarded the Victor Ludorum prize for athletics at Prep school and was in the rugby and cricket A-teams at Bishops Diocesan College. He was also top at rifle shooting but this is where he discovered his eyesight wasn’t too good and he needed glasses.

He matriculated from Bishops in 1954 and spent 6 months in the Navy on the Bluff in Durban doing his national service before enrolling at UCT to study Architecture. It was here that he met and made friends with Bill Ritchie who became a life-long friend and work partner.  Bruce joined Revel Fox and Partners architectural practice in 1966 and remained working there throughout his life until his retirement in 2002 (I had to google Bruce Milne architect for more accurate information and found there’s another one living in Australia!) He worked on many notable buildings such as the BP centre in Cape Town, UCT Education Department, Federal Seminary in Pietermaritzburg, and later diverged into conservation architecture where he worked on Morgenster, Groot Constantia, and De Oude Werf to name a few. His meticulous attention to detail saw accurate restorations, where the integrity of the original was paramount.  

At 19, he met my mom, Margaret whilst on holiday in Rustenburg with his friend Geoff Richardson (S, 1954). It must have been love at first sight because they kept in touch and got married in 1961 also in Rustenburg. The newly-weds settled into their first home, a trendy flat above Clifton 4th Beach, which they enjoyed for a year until the glare off the water drove them away to seek domestic bliss in Pinelands just down the road from the parents-in law! In 1963 I was born and 15 months later my sister Terry was born. We also lived out our childhood in Pinelands. My memories of my dad are happy ones of him entertaining us by walking around on his hands, and playing tennis with expert style even though he’d never played tennis before and him returning home from a squash game with a sweaty headband and sometimes a broken racquet. For all his athletic ability, he was a terrible swimmer! While attempting to swim breast stroke, there was as much backward movement as there was forwards

Dad was an obsessive brick layer in his spare time; the area surrounding the Pinelands house became increasingly paved over the years. Each brick was laid meticulously, even the one brick he allowed me to lay was uprooted and re-laid perfectly! The extensive paved area enabled Terry and I  to spend many happy hours roller skating, stilt walking and cycling around the house.

In 2003 Bruce and Margaret moved out to McGregor where Dad continued with his paving projects as well as many building projects which he completed mostly single handed. He joined a friend in building a boardwalk and bird hide at the Vrolikheid Nature Reserve and helped with heritage advice in the village. Everyone knew him as the ‘architect’ and he was much liked by the people of McGregor.

His last years were difficult for both him and Mom, but they both coped really well, living by their motto of ‘ons gaan maar aan’. Stoic to the end despite months of illness; we’ll always remember him for his creativity, his fascination for the natural world and his generous spirit. 

Bruce is survived by Margaret his wife, two daughters and four granddaughters.

With thanks to Angela Wain (elder daughter of Bruce and Margaret Milne)

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