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News > Passing of friends > The passing of William 'Ant' Ractliffe (1959O)

The passing of William 'Ant' Ractliffe (1959O)

"Ant loved his time at Bishops!" (Justin Ractliffe, Ant's son).
William Anthony Ractliffe ('Ant' to his friends).
William Anthony Ractliffe ('Ant' to his friends).

William Anthony Ractliffe (1959,O) was born in Bedford, England 1942. His father, William, was a Captain in the Sixth Commando Unit of the Bedfordshire & Hertfordshire Regiment and had brought Ant’s mother, Margaret, from South Africa when he enlisted.  At the war’s end, the family returned to Cape Town and reunited with Ant’s older brothers, Jeremy and John.

Ant attended Western Province Preparatory School before moving to Bishops, where he was a house prefect in Ogilvie House and played for the First XI and the First XV in the position of prop. Cricket and Rugby were lifelong passions. After matriculating from Bishops in 1959, he did a BA/BCom at the University of Cape Town, but he liked to say that he got his real education playing bridge, a game he loved.

He taught Latin and Economics at London’s Westminster School before beginning his career in the investment department of the National Mutual Life Association of Australasia in Cape Town. In 1967, he married Diana Johnson in St John’s Presbyterian Church in Bloemfontein, and in 1970, his son Justin was born, followed by daughter Jessica in 1972.

In 1974, the family moved to Melbourne and shuttled back and forth between Australia, SA, and New Zealand for the next fifteen years as Ant held executive positions in Victoria, Tasmania, Queensland and New Zealand. He finished his career as CEO of New Zealand at AMP AAPH Finance Ltd (formerly National Mutual) and retired in 1997 after 30 years with the company. He then served on several boards, including as Non-Executive Chairman for Tranzact Financial Services Ltd and Chairman for Booster Financial Services Ltd.

In 2007, Ant and Diana moved to Bowral, in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, where Ant honed his card skills to a high standard and served on the committee of the Bowral Bridge Club. He was known as the best card counter in the district and a formidable opponent.

We send our deep condolences to Diana, Justin, Jessica, and four granddaughters, Eve, Alice, Maggie, and Elkie, and his family.


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