A TRIBUTE TO CHRIS “SPOOK” SMYTH
The Kearsney Matric Class of 1974 will remember Chris for a number of things. First and foremost for his brilliant brain (Dux of School), for his endless scientific debates with Fred Pomare and his comments such as “Yes Fred, correct in theory but not in practice”, for walking backwards in front of the group so that he didn’t miss out on anything, for his wildly erratic and sometimes and infuriating umpiring, for obtaining his private pilot’s licence at sixteen years of age, and of course for having three sisters who gave us right of entry to the wonders of Epworth.
My memories of Chris from our friendship of more than 45 years go a lot deeper than that. I also remember that nights that he, Tony Leon and I sat in his little Mini Minor on what was then the Lower Marine Parade listening to Rodriguez music, then much later watching as he set off on an incredibly successful career path which saw him head up three international airline companies in Africa (including his appointment as the acting CEO of SAA) and after that as the CFO of two public companies.
I had the honour and privilege of being the best man at his wedding to Wendy almost twenty years ago and what I remember him most for was his integrity in everything he did and for his unfailing friendship, where he demanded little and gave a lot. His death came suddenly, unexpectedly and far too early and if there is one thing that all of us can take from this it is to value and to continue to nurture those special relationships that we started all those years ago.