Thank you to Dave Kilpin (1960O) for sending us an obituary for Thomas. Please see below.
Thomas Gerald Mcewen (1960G) | 1944 - 2019
Mac began his academic career in the nursery class at Herschel where he met his lifelong friend Richard Rhodes (1960). From there the two went up the road to WPPS where in his final year he was Head Boy. Mac not only excelled in the classroom but was a brilliant athlete in both track and field. His other sporting achievements were 1st team rugby and cricket. The following is quoted from the WPPS 1956 School Magazine:
"McEwen had no real challenge, and walked away with all five events, a grand achievement." Those events were the 100 yds, 440 yds, 80 yds hurdles, high and long jumps.
"McEwen was a steady player, without showing the flashes of brilliance we had hoped for - another year would have made all the difference as he was very young."
"McEwen's bowling did not come up to the promise of previous years - a slow bowler must not mind being hit. McEwan did and therefore tried bowling medium-fast, with not as much success. He, therefore, kept his place in the team as a run-getter and enthusiast, and not, as one would have hoped, as a good off-spinner."
Form prize, Old Boys' prize, senior Victor Ludorum (athletics)
In 1957 he went to Bishops and into Gray House. Again, he excelled on the sports field particularly athletics. In his matric year, he was a prefect and a Student Officer in the cadet corp. He was a talented rugby player, playing on the wing for the under 16 A, but because he was only 16 when he matriculated, he never progressed to the under 19 levels.
After school, Mac went up the hill to UCT and in 1967 he obtained a degree B.Sc. (Land Surveying). During his time at UCT, he played rugby for Villager RFC and, like all students of the day, he played bridge regularly; a past time he continued to play in later life. Having completed his degree, he did his military service from 1967 to 1975 with 47, Survey Squadron rising to the rank of captain. He then entered a private survey practice but left in 1981 to join the Cape Town Municipality becoming Assistant Branch Head in the Survey Dept. In 1989 he joined Stern & Ekermans as a Partner where he remained until he passed away.
Mac loved nothing more than being surrounded by his family and friends. Hugely popular, and an outdoor man who loved his sport: He played tennis every Wednesday afternoon at Kelvin Grove and would always be seen amongst his friends at the Poolside bar after a Stormers/Western Province rugby game. But what he enjoyed most was catching crayfish at Kommetjie or Cape Point on weekends. If that was not possible, he would then be found walking on our beaches possibly collecting mussels at Scarborough, or hiking on our mountains with Liz and Rory the dog. On a Sunday afternoon/evening he would share the spoils of his catch (if any) with family and friends at a braai. Strangely Mac did not enjoy crayfish but was a connoisseur of boerewors! A starter was always to sample his latest purchase from a multitude of meat outlets!
Characters like Mac are rare, and he will be sorely missed.
He leaves his wife Liz, sons Thomas and Michael, daughter Janet and 8 grandchildren.
Dave Kilpin (1960O)
His life long friend Richie Rhodes (1960 O) wrote the following:-
"I met Mac in 1949 when he and I were two of the very rare Herschel Girls who weren't. Our long friendship was forged in the white heat of competition with numerous curious and predatory 5 yr old girls. We learnt fear and self-defence together, being chased around the playground. If you're reading this 70 yrs later, girls, you know who you are!
From there, WPPS and Bishops were a doddle and left strong memories. I remember our first shared stolen cigarette somewhere between Founders and Frank Reid; the many parties where we discovered that girls weren't as scary as we'd earlier learnt. Mac, being tall, blonde, good looking and athletic, was much in demand, as I recall.
Over the years Mac didn't like change. Our first experiment with drinking was brandy and coke. And so it remained, becoming quite specific. You didn't have to ask Mac what he'd like, it'd always be Klippies and diet coke. And he'd usually bring his own, just in case. Likewise, his preferred dress remained constant from his school days: veldskoen, woollen socks rolled down, unfashionably short khaki shorts and a white long-sleeved shirt with the sleeves rolled tightly up above the elbow. As a land surveyor, Mac's uniform was a feature, usually with a floppy hat and his theodolite, on many sites around Cape Town.
Mac and Liz visited us many times overseas, both in the UK and at our place in Spain. He always recalled watching the Last Night of the Proms at max volume during a rowdy evening with us and friends and kept a much-watched videotape of the occasion. He would always seek a challenging walk along the coast in Spain. Mac Is very fondly remembered by many of his overseas friends and, of course, our two sons who learnt the art of perlemoen, (no, I have no idea either!) boerewors and kreef cooking from him. All of us will miss a characterful, generous and dear friend. Farewell, old mate."