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News > Passing of friends > William (Roley) De Villiers (1951F)

William (Roley) De Villiers (1951F)

A charming man with a nice sense of humour.


Class of 1951

Jeremy Lawrence (1952F) let us know that his dear friend, William (Roley) de Villiers (1951F) had passed away in Cape Town on 21 July 2023. 

We telephoned his daughter, Wendy to find out a bit more.  Roley, as he was fondly called, passed away at Kingsbury Hospital early in August.  He hadn't been well for a while, having suffered from heart problems over the past 20 years.

He met his wife, Elizebeth Anne Underwood at UCT where he majored in English and History and later qualied as a teacher.  Elizabeth's  family was from Southern Rhodesia where they went after getting married.  There they started a family. He started his teaching career in Harare and then moved to Marondera, originally known as Marandellas, a town in Mashonaland East, Zimbabwe, located about 72 km east of Harare.  He taught at the local school.  When his children (Wendy and Tony) were teenagers they returned to South Africa.

He taught at Western Province Preparatory School ("Wetpups") until he retired in 1997.  The subjects he taught included History, English and a bit of Afrikaans.  He was very involved in the Chess Club at WPPS that he helped to establish.

Jeremy remembers Roley as a good friend of his brother, Christopher, from their prep school days at Bishops onwards.  He was a sports lover and played good rugby.  Roley's brother, Quinton (1958W) was to attend Bishops in later years.

Sadly Roley experienced a double loss when his wife died in 1999 and his son, Tony, a year later. 

He lived in Kenilworth, Cape Town, with his daughter Wendy until his passing.  He was described as an "old school gentleman" who loved animals and in his dealings with people was kind and helpful.  His hobbies included golf, and in later years, long walks with his dogs on the beach. Wendy shared a note from her dad that had been very meaningful:

When we need God the most, he will surely be there for us.

His deep faith was important to him, and carried him during the challenging time leading up to his death.

Our deepest condolences go to Wendy and all the friends and family of Roley.


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