A Tribute to John Nightingale (Pembroke 1967)

It was only 3 months ago when John made such an impact on the success of this year’s Founders weekend. He commenced the weekend with such a highly motivating speech in this Chapel to the entire school,the Senior Old Boys and staff. He spoke essentially in Zulu and the boys were clearly captivated by his Kearsney loyalty!
He also gave the 1st Rugby team such a motivational talk wearing his Honours Blazer that they went on to beat ‘College by a record score!

Our class of ’67 celebrated 50 years since leaving Kearsney. John was the outstanding personality of our Class.
He arrived at Kearsney with an upper leg impairment. This did not deter John from becoming the Captain of the 1st Rugby team, the first water polo team. He was the Drum Major of the cadet band. He was also Head Prefect of Junior House and as he always said he was in the class of 6E. ‘”E for intelligence”’!

 After Kearsney he volunteered his services for over 30 years to the Zululand Branch of the Kearsney Old Boys.
John always provided such a presence at any given gathering and would be the life and soul of the party.
He was a great practical joker without any malice meant. I am sure you could all relate to one or two of his pranks!

John loved his surfing especially at his beloved Zinkwazi!

In fact his life can be related to the waves he surfed. He would fight big and small waves to get to out into the calm waters and then enjoy the exhilaration of the ride back.

John loved his bowls along with his membership of the Memorable Order of Tin Hats. The MOTHS.

John struggled with health problems during the latter stage of his life but this did not deter him at all. He was always committed to what was called of him. He was a person I would have been happy to go to war with!
John as a Husband, father, grandfather and brother was a pillar of strength to his wonderful family.

Especially when Gary so tragically died.

Lesley my wife, Bruce and Gail Sommerville were privileged to enjoy a memorable weekend last year in Umtinzini.It was Jon’s generosity that enabled us to go. It was a special weekend when I look back on it now!

Lesley and I convey our love and condolences to Kathy, Nicky, Max and your extended families. Also to all those close and wonderful friends gathered here today. I am sure that this is being read to a packed Kearsney Chapel. We are so sorry that we are unable to share this service with you all as we are presently in Toronto for our son Ian’s wedding. Keith, Ian and Mark all send their condolences.

John is someone who has packed the equivalent of a 150 year old into his life of a 69 year old!

What a mighty man! What a friend! Loved by so many!

Your family, your friends, the Zululand community, the Kearsney community will never forget you John.

Rest in peace now that you are with our precious Lord Jesus Christ.


Written by Gavin Bester (Pembroke 1967)