Donald James McGibbon

Kearsney College – Gillingham House 1961-1966

Don’s school testimony stated that:

“He is a boy of above average academic ability who passed the Kearsney College Junior Certificate in 1969 with merit and a distinction in mathematics. He also achieved a merit pass in the natal Senior Certificate last December.

He participated in many school activities including the Parliamentary Debating Society. In sport he played cricket for the 1st XI in 1970 and 1971 and was also a member of the school Squash Team for the same period. He was awarded his colours for the latter sport in 1971. He played rugby for the 1st and 2nd Teams and was a member of the school Athletics Team for three years.

McGibbon is a boy of excellent character and a fine family background. As Deputy Head Boy of the school he displayed sound qualities of leadership and rendered useful service to the school and his colleagues. I expect him in due course to be capable of accepting a high degree of responsibility in the career of his choice. I have no hesitation in recommending him in the strongest terms. “

His University career at Wits was equally successful and he qualified top of his year with a BSc Building Science, receiving many prizes. However this is the time a mental medical condition started to surface which led to lots of drama in his life. He started work in the building industry and after a whirlwind romance he married – and just as quickly they were divorced.

In the 1980’s Don took off for Melbourne, Australia. We got very little news from him and at times he almost disappeared, moving from town to town until he settled in Cairns as a painting contractor.

His sister Muriel & Mom visited him in Australia in 1996. Unfortunately the economy was in depression, so his plans to work further in the building industry did not materialise. His brother Hugh (Gillingham 1963-1967) & his wife visited him there and spent a week with him in 2001. Don’s life was not great at that stage, so he was persuaded to return to SA in 2002. This is where his sister Jen took charge and insisted he stay with her family. Don spent the past 10 years living with his Jen’s family and socialising at the local shops & pub.

We must be thankful Don went peacefully when he suffered a sudden heart attack. He was not in the best of health but lived life as fully as he could till the end. His medical condition severely restricted his potential over the past 15 years.

At his funeral held on 27 June 2012 in Randburg, a number of his friends from the local pub and shops joined his family to pay their last respects to Don.

By: Hugh McGibbon (Gillingham 1967)