In Memory

Rod Tyson

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09/24/20 02:22 PM #1    

Ian Robertson (Class Of 1961)

Rodney Tyson started out at DHS in 1958, with my class of 1961.  He was a lively and engaging classmate but was a year younger than the rest of us, and decided to repeat his third form year.  After that he took a leisurely route through DHS, finally matriculating with the class of 1963. 

Rod was a familiar figure to anyone who took a bus from the stop above the school on Vause Rd, as his home was right next to the stop and he would often linger to chat with the waiting boys.  His proximity to the school also led him to become friendly with many of the Blackmore's boys.

Perhaps Rod's greatest claim to fame at the school was his recitation of Tennyson's "Charge of the Light Brigade" at one of the school's talent contests.  He rendered a strikingly confident and impassioned declamation, with his vigourous gestures alternately signalling "Canons to left of them!  Canons to right of them!" as he practically rode with with the six hundred through volleys of thunder!

Rod's cheerful and ebullient nature is captured in this anecdote from his profile:

I lived in Vause Rd opposite DHS. About 10 yrs after leaving DHS, the school began constructing a new building opposite our home. One night, about 2 a.m., I was awakened to see this new building (still incomplete) in a mighty blaze. I called the fire brigade and wakened the boarders in the school B/E. The firemen had difficulty locating fire hydrants (covered with rubble) & I became involved in assisting them in the environment which was strange to them, but familiar to me. In the darkness, I found a policeman wandering around with a torch. I asked him to assist me to pull a fire hose up a flight of stairs. He refused. In my impatience at his stubbornness in what was an urgent situation, I "accidentally/on purpose" turned the fire hose on him. He promptly arrested me, frog-marched me to a police van parked in St Thomas Rd., and locked me in the back of the van.

I was now really frightened and thought of ways to escape. Suddenly, I saw my old latin master "Theo" nearby in the crowd. Calling to him through the bars, I explained what had happened and that I was the one who had given the alarm and "rescued" the boarders. In his typical LCWT dignified manner, he stormed off, summonsed the policeman and instructed him to release me. Unperturbed, the policeman replied "No ways - you're just one of his mates". I was then carted off to the Smith St police station where I was charged with assaulting a policeman and other things. All ended well after a 4 a.m. telephone call to my regimental commanding officer who confirmed my "good character", and the station commander sent me home in a car.  The building was, in due course, completed, and is still standing today.

After leaving school, Rod qualified as a chartered accountant and spent his professional life in Durban.  He married Charmaine Gracie in 1975.  He worked first as an accountant, and then as financial director of a large supplier of automotive parts, and retired in 2008.

Rod was always eager to catch up with his old classmates and attended both the 25 and 50 year reunions of the class of 1963.  He also attended the 50 year reunion of the class of 1961.  This is a photo him on that occasion, in 2011:

Rod enjoyed an active retirement with his wife and family -- camping, sailing, snorkelling, and scuba diving, with long trips around South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, and shorter forays overseas.  A few years ago, Rod and Charmaine moved to Cape Town to be closer to their children and grandchildren.  Christian faith was central to Rod's life, expressed not just in church activities, but in a deep commitment to be of help to others.


Rod Tyson passed away in Cape Town on 25 August 2020, of heart disease.  He is survived by Charmaine, his wife of 45 years, his sons Tim and Steven, his daughters Sally and Susan, and their families.


09/25/20 02:07 PM #2    

Don Allaway

Rodney worked for the KayMac Group owned by the late Ken Mackenzie and one of South Africa's largest unlisted Groups. Ken Mackenzie was a very generous man and, interr alia, built a house, "Mackenzie's" at Michaelhouse his old school, and had many philanthropic gifts to his name. 

After Mackenzie's death, David Geerdts (retired Senior Partner of Garlicke & Bousfield Inc) became its Chairman and when I was a partner in the Durban office of Garlicke & Bousfield Inc I did quite a bit of work for Rodney.

Some of this work was of a charitable nature for which I never charged. But after each of those matters there would be a knock at my door at home with Mavkenzie's daughter delivering a case of wine from his wine estate, Hartenberg.with a card thanking me for what I had done.

It was always a pleasure to work for Rodney at Kaymac. He was a meticulous accountant, always well prepared for every meeting and a fountain of knowledge about his company and Group's affairs.

I am so sorry to read about his death and offer his wife, children andtheir families my deepest sympathy.

Don Allaway

09/27/20 06:30 PM #3    

Richard Dold (Class Of 1961)

I remember young Rod Tyson in our first class at DHS (or was it at DPHS, before that?) At the time, Rod also had a namesake, viz. Frank Tyson the England fast bowler. The MCC had a big presence in touring SA during those years and Frank Tyson was regarded as probably the quickest and best fast bowler in the world at the time. The mere mention of the name, 'Tyson' would have been enough to have sent a shiver through any Springbok dressing room! The contrast in both stature and power between these two Tysons was astronomical and I seem to recall that the topic was the butt of many a joke among us (?) 

It's indeed curious that Rod worked for Ken Mackenzie at Kaymac. As it happened, 'Stork' (or Ken) Mackenzie was a great friend of my dad's when they both flew fighters in the SAAF in the Western Desert during the War. ['Stork' was the epithet which Ken had acquired because of his long, spindly legs!] By all accounts, neither man was innately "designed" for his aerial combat role or to be a particular danger to the Hun but each duly made his contribution to the War effort and both managed to come through the whole conflict unscathed. Although, sadly, one of Stork's brothers was killed during the conflict, which had been devastating for him. Both Stork and Dad attended my Wings Parade in Bloemfontein in 1966.

    After the War, Dad and Stork went their own separate ways and the latter became a spectacularly successful businessman whose Kaymac Foundation contributed to many an educational institution, such as Michaelhouse, Treverton, and The Drakensburg Boys' Choir School, to name but a few. It was a remarkable career for one who had started off without any qualifications!

10/03/20 07:57 PM #4    

Stuart Clark

It is with regret that I advise that Rod Tyson passed away on 25 August 2020 in hospital in the Cape after a number of years battling with heart problems.  He is mourned by his wife of almost 45 years, Charmaine and his children Sally, Tim, Susan and Steven.


Charmaine and Rod Tyson

After retiring in 2008 from a successful career with GUD Filters (PTY) Ltd, he and Charmaine moved to the Cape where he enjoyed travelling and camping. He was a Chartered Accountant and an experienced, senior businessman.

I have known Rod for many years since I first met him in 1960 at DHS. I remember him as a man with a strong Christian faith, a man of integrity in all he did, a committed family man and a loyal friend. He was a unique character, active in the cadet corps at school and was even willing to be dragged along to water-polo practices post school! He was always close to activities at school as he lived across the road from the school in Vause Road.

I will miss Rod and, I am sure that all our sympathies go out to Charmaine and the family at this time of loss.

Roger Keyte

7 September 2020

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