Today my dear Uncle Donny was laid to rest. My Aunty Aldyth paid tribute to him at the funeral. In his honour and memory I want to share that tribute:
I am paying this tribute to Donny on behalf of Joy’s sisters. He was a very special brother-in-law to us and we all loved him dearly. Our children all had great respect for him, they regarded him as a friend and uncle. I’d like to share a few tributes from a few of them.
Uncle Donny has a special place in my heart from the days when he and Aunty Joy were courting and they would take me and Robin for drives in the Beetle. It always felt like a big adventure.
I remember trips to the beach in their Mazda and one day it rained like crazy and Uncle Donny had to keep jumping out of the car to clean the windscreen as the wipers didn’t work but he made it seem like fun. He didn’t opt to turn around and go home. He just kept doing it with a smile. His specs got wet, he got wet, but he just got out of the car every time to dry the windscreen.
He was a quiet sort of guy but great fun to be with. I think of him as this cool as a cucumber man who didn’t lose his temper. He was the best uncle ever and I could always see how much he loved Aunty Joy whom he met when he came to take photos of me and Robin.
There’s a hollow in my heart today. Aunty Joy, Craig, Alison, Lisa and Hannah-Joy; Estelle, William, Colleen and Joan – I can’t imagine the heartbreaking grief you must be feeling. Uncle Donny is at peace after having endured so much and I hope you can find peace too. I love you Uncle Donny and will miss you.
A husband, a father, a brother, a grandfather, our uncle, but to me, Donny (as he asked to be called so that his age did not show). Someone who helped shape the person I am today, whether it was in the sports arena or trying our hand at selling computers, or when I needed a deal on a new camera. We shared many special moments. Donny gave me many things, my first cricket bat and a table tennis board to name a couple, but it is the guidance and coaching that came with those things that I will always treasure. Your innings may have come to an end but, like all the greats of the game, you will always be remembered.
Writing a tribute to Uncle Donny is both easy and difficult. Difficult because of the sadness we feel at his passing away. It is easy because he was such a wonderful man who meant so much to us.
Firstly, Donny was a great sportsman in every way – gracious in victory and defeat, respectful and polite to both team mates and opponents and a fierce competitor who was always fair and honest. This characterized him both on and off the field. He was an example to us all, of how to conduct ourselves. An example I certainly strove to follow. Some of my favourite memories are times spent playing cricket, table tennis and golf with Uncle Donny.
The second is, Donny the chronicler of our family history. He took photos at just about every significant family event since he came into our lives. For me this is an incredible gift we have all received from him. We have those memories in our photo albums and our hearts, thanks to him. Donny will always be missed but his presence will always be felt.
With love to Joy, Craig, Alison, Lisa and Hannah-Joy and all other family and friends.
From Robin, Vanessa, Andrew and Jessica.
Your soft, gentle, quiet and caring manner touched so many of us, including me. You were a guiding presence in my life and it contributed to my feeling safe, loved and nurtured. You were like a father to me. I shall always carry you in my heart and soul. This week I have felt you and also for you. I also felt for and with Joy, Alison, Craig, Lisa and Hannah-Joy, also Estelle, William, Colleen and Joan. I shall miss you and I leave you with these words, a Vedic peace prayer, that I feel will touch wherever you may be. I trust these words will also touch the hearts of your family and all those who loved you. They capture a wonderful part of your essence which I am grateful to have experienced.
May all the beings in all the worlds be happy.
With love, peace and gratitude, Clint (with the support and caring of my partner, Erik).
Besides the children, David, too, had a special bond with Donny which strengthened during Donny’s illness and they often phoned one another to discuss what was happening on the sports channels. Donny had kindly given David a Walka on which to watch DsTV.
I, personally, admired Donny’s great faith in God and this was very evident during his illness. He was always positive when I visited him. During his periods of remission, he walked for long distances, went to work from time to time and played golf. His positivity didn’t waver. He never lost his sense of humour and always brought a smile to our faces. Even during his last week at the hospice he cracked a joke with Charles. That is just how Donny was.
As St Francis de Sales said: Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength.
He could have been talking about Donny.
We, Joy’s sisters and our families, will remember him as a gentleman, always humble, principled and a man of integrity. We will all miss him very much, especially at our family braais.
He has left us with beautiful memories.
Joy, Craig, Alison, Lisa and Hannah-Joy, also Estelle, William, Colleen and Joan, you have lost someone very dear to you. To each of you he was something different and you all loved him and cherished him in your own way. We offer you all our ongoing support and love and will keep you in our prayers