|28 Aug 2020
|Passing of friends
|Class of 1973
Nic passed away on 25 August in Johannesburg. An obituary will follow in due course. He had a very bad fall two months ago, which required surgery for bleeding on the brain, from which he sadly never recovered. We send sincere condolences to his wife, Wendy.
Nic Challis had a seizure which caused a very bad fall. He underwent brain surgery but remained in a coma and passed away with his wife Wendy by his side.
Having initially qualified and worked as a computer programmer, he changed focus and studied further, culminating in the award of an MA in Clinical Psychology from UNISA in 1999. He continued his academic work as an active researcher in various fields of psychology.
Throughout his post-school life, he faced various health challenges. He was diagnosed with cancer in 1991 and was treated at Groote Schuur from 1992 to 1995. Following a bone marrow transplant, all his cancer disappeared in a short space of time which he attributed at least partly to his faith and the power of prayer. This miraculous recovery was a defining moment in his life.
He subsequently made it his mission to help newly-diagnosed cancer patients and their families, influenced strongly by Victor Frankl’s book “Man’s Search for Meaning” which blends science and humanism and embodies the psychological movement known as logotherapy. “Mind, body and spirit” became his life philosophy. He joined Sandton Oncology practice as their in-house psychologist and worked closely with Dr George de Muelenaere, running support groups for cancer patients and their families. In 2005 he published a book “Hello Cancer Survivor, Psychologist Here”. A revised and updated edition was published in 2018.
At school, Nic was a keen sportsman with cricket as his passion. He was captain of squash and was a good fast bowler. On the golf course, as a junior member at the Royal Cape Golf Club, the length of his drive was legendary. But from a young age, he turned his attention to cricket umpiring together with Richard Whittingdale (Gray 1973); as 13-year-olds they both qualified as the youngest umpires in the world at that time. Nic went on to umpire matches both in South Africa and in the UK where he spent some time in the 1980s. After hip surgery reduced his agility he took up bowls in 2008 and eventually became a Level 3 bowls umpire, officiating matches at the national level.
He was also a member of the Professional Editors Guild and worked on a freelance basis editing books, theses and journal articles. His interest in the correct use of English grammar that he developed at school afforded him great pleasure as an editor.
His wife Wendy comments “His cooking skills were formidable, credit for which must go to his mother, Rosemary. He was a voracious reader, could complete a cryptic crossword in a flash and enjoyed watching forensic TV series. He had a wonderful wit. His life revolved around his deep abiding faith in Jesus Christ and the power of prayer and love”.
Nic is survived by his wife Wendy and brother Jeremy.
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