Tributes and Obituaries

Revil John Mason died on 23 August 2020 at the age of 91 years, scarcely a year after receiving the Golden Eagle award on Gaudy Day at St John’s College in 2019. Revil was born on 10 February 1929 and grew up in Saxonwold. He entered St John’s Prep in 1936. After matriculating in 1946, Revil studied at the University of Witwatersrand and obtained a B Com. degree, garnering several prizes, including the Aitken medal for the best graduate in Commerce, together with the Chamber of Industries medal and the Dean’s award.

 

Marian Laserson (nee Spilkin) architect, town planner, champion of wetlands and heritage campaigner passed away on 10 July at the Morningside Clinic of the Covid-19 Virus.

Herbert Maurice John Prins, distinguished architect, professional conservation and heritage architect and practitioner passed away on Wednesday, 15th April 2020, just 12 days short of his 93rd birthday. His was a long, rich and remarkably productive life. Herbert was a role model in his work and ongoing commitment to the heritage of Johannesburg and other parts of South Africa until just a couple of months before his death. It was a joy to celebrate his 90th birthday in 2017. His professional career extended over 72 years - surely a record.

I hardly Knew Robin fee personally except shaking hands in a restaurant was a warm experience. But his presence in the profession was known over 3 decades & more: 1960-1990s. He embodied much of the complexity that characterised architecture over this period. Complexity?

I was very sad to learn of the passing of the architect Robin Fee a few days ago and especially sorry that I had not expressed to him in his lifetime my thanks for his role in the conservation of Joburg’s heritage.
 
I would like to pay tribute to Robin Fee for two extraordinary instances where he put Johannesburg’s old buildings above any profit he or his firm could make if they had upheld their clients’ demands for demolition.
 

Lesley and I first met Helen at a party, when some woman with wild hair and very red lips rushed up to us and informed us that we would be buying a copy of her book and that she would be delivering it to our house that next day and that the price would be R50. At that stage I was still a student and her price took a fairly large chunk out of our savings, and for many years thereafter it remained the single, most expensive book on our bookshelves. As I soon came to realise, Helen Aron took no prisoners, and let no grass grow beneath her feet.
 

Roger Webster, storyteller, raconteur, heritage supporter, broadcaster and author passed away after a short illness on 6th January 2020. Roger was an enthusiast of South African heritage and history. 

This is a recollection of my personal journey and association with Karel, through which I would like to pay tribute to a giant who championed the cause of heritage conservation far beyond the borders of the country where he lived, worked and passed away.

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