Owen Keith “Wally” Clarkson

Owen Clarkson died suddenly of a heart attack on the Kearsney Campus on Friday 18 February.  Owen was one of the school’s most passionate and loyal Old Boys and his death will be deeply mourned by all his colleagues many of who were associated with him starting from time to time that they were at DPHS and through their years together at Kearsney.  He will be remembered as a man of great integrity, courage, courtesy, a true sportsman in every sense of the word with a wonderful sense of humour.  He was highly respected by all of those who had the privilege of being his colleague and friend.

His father “Wally” Clarkson together with his Springbok and Natal colleagues Alf Walker and Bill Zeller were some of the original members of the “Old Crocks” formed in 1932 to play against Kearsney College.  Through this association they sent their sons Owen, Newton and Ron to Kearsney, all of whom, after distinguished careers at Kearsney were later to represent Natal, the only occasion when three Kearsney Old Boys were to play together in the same Natal Provincial rugby side.

Owen was awarded colours for rugby playing fullback for the 1st XV in 1947 and was a member of the 1st XI cricket for three years.  He was passionate about being a Gillingham boy.

Owen’s older brother was a brilliant scholar at Kearsney who together with Brian Woods were the last two boys to read both Latin and Greek under Jack Reece.

After a career with Standard Charter Bank, in the then Rhodesia, Owen, Sheila, their son Paul and daughter Jennifer returned to Natal where Owen retired to Botha’s Hill.  Being close to the school he was regular spectator at rugby and cricket matches.  During the last 10 years Owen has spent much of his time working in the Kearsney Archives recovering and filing documents and photographs and putting them together which will enable them to be used as valuable research material.  One of his major projects has been the collection of all the school’s 1st XV rugby photographs and identifying all the players.  These are now displayed in the Old Boys Greyhound Pavilion.  He has also been responsible for the restoration of the 1st XI cricket photographs in the Old Boys Memorial Cricket Pavilion.

We bid farewell to a dear friend and trusted colleague and extend to Sheila, Paul and Jennifer our sincere condolences.

By: Dr Graeme Shuker (1948)