Former Rondebosch Boys’ Preparatory School headmaster Ray Holmes, considered one of the greats of the southern suburbs teaching community, died on Tuesday April 26, at the age of 95.
Born in Kimberley, Mr Holmes’s parents relocated to Cape Town when he was in Grade 7, where he was introduced to Rondebosch Prep for the first time.
“After finishing school, he attended the Cape Town Teachers’ Training College. His first teaching job was at Lansdowne Primary, before he returned to Rondebosch as a teacher,” Mr Holmes’s daughter, Elaine, said.
“In 1954, he became the first principal of Golden Grove Primary, where he stayed until 1966 ,when he was appointed headmaster of Rondebosch Prep.
“He stayed there until 1972, when he left to become an inspector for the education department.”
Mr Holmes retired in 1983.
“Between 1940 and 1945, my father took a break from teaching to fight in the war. He was originally stationed in Durban but then went to fight overseas. For a period, he was prisoner of war in Tobruk in Italy,” Ms Holmes said.
“I think teaching wasn’t just a calling for my dad; it was his life. As a child, I always remember him working out teacher allocations for the coming year on a board in our garage. He was so committed.”
She said her father had been an exceptionally hard worker and had instilled a strong work ethic in all his children.
“He was always an incredibly caring man. He would always remember to write letters and birthday and Christmas cards to people, and also visited the elderly to assist in any way he could. He was very much a man of prayer, and was heavily involved with the church. He was also a giver, and even on a teacher’s salary he used to donate to between 15 and 20 charities at any time.”
As an example of the kind of man he was, Mr Holmes visited his late wife twice a day for more than two years after she suffered a stroke in 1993.
Mr Holmes is survived by Ms Holmes and her siblings, Kevin and Merle.