A Tribute to Thea Reece
We celebrate the life of
Kearsney College 1933 – 1946
In gratitude Dorothea Reece is acknowledged on the
Kearsney Legacy Society Honours Board
in the Sir Liege Hulett Room for remembering Kearsney in her Will.
Her philanthropy contributes to the betterment of the world
through her support of the work of Kearsney College.
Dorothea Fraser, as she was, joined the staff at Old Kearsney from Bloemfontein to head the preparatory section of the school after Pat Ellis resigned to marry Max Oram in 1933. There were ninety applicants for the job and the Headmaster, Robert Matterson, left the final selection to Jack Reece (who had been teaching at Kearsney since 1927). She was one of the eight members of staff who moved to Botha’s Hill when the College relocated in 1939.
During the Second World War, she and Sister Attlee, armed with first aid kits, would accompany boys when they went to the trenches during night drills. She also ran the first tuck shop on the Botha’s Hill campus.
On Easter Saturday, 1946 Dorothea (Thea) Fraser married Jack Reece in Bloemfontein. She withdrew from the classroom at the end of the second term to become a homemaker and mother to Jack’s two young children. She and Jack later had another child.
After Jack Reece’s time as Housemaster, they moved to their home in Botha Road where Thea Reece continued to live after Jack died in 1989 (having retired in 1967). Special dispensation was granted to allow his ashes – and later those of Thea – to be interred in a grave behind the chapel.
I remember her driving around in her blue Ford Escort, her hands gripping the steering wheel at “ten to two” and the top of her head barely visible above it said Dave Goldhawk Kearsney Master (1984 – 2014). She holds the record of the number of Kearsney speech days attended. In 2004 she celebrated her 94th birthday and attended her seventieth Speech Day. She passed away in July 2006 and her ashes were placed with those of Jack Reece behind the chapel.