St mary’s dsg old girls’ association newsletter may 2008 MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT OF st mary’s dsg old girls’ association

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MAY 2008



2008 Reunion calls again and there are some exciting promises coming to fruition. Our 50th Anniversary Old Girls from 1958 have been working hard on a spectacular Reunion. The 40s, 30s, 20s and 10s also have exciting plans afoot. It is always a memorable time for us and we hope that as many of you as possible will join us.

This year will be a special Reunion for the Old Girls’ Association as we will be celebrating our seventy-fifth anniversary. So many changes have taken place at our grand old School, which is why we urge you to come and share it all with us.
Jeanette van der Breggen has, as always been a star about keeping us in touch with one another and the School. We encourage anyone who lives in Pretoria who would like to be nominated onto the OG’s Committee to please submit your names and details to Jeanette for consideration at the AGM.
The School’s PRO team will be on hand for conducted tours after the Lunch.
A full report of the OG’s activities during the year will be made at the Reunion.
Please join us and renew old acquaintances and share happy and amusing memories.
Best wishes to you all
God bless
Di Gibbs (Penrose 1957)
President St Mary’s DSG Old Girls’ Association

We have pleasure in inviting you to attend



10:00 Tea and Registration (in the courtyard outside chapel)

10:30 Chapel Service

12:00 Pre-lunch drinks (in courtyard between hall and south wing)

12:30 Lunch and AGM

14:30 Tour of the School

Please RSVP to Jeanette van der Breggen:
Postal address: 74 Marian Road, Lynnwood Glen, Pretoria, 0081


Tel: 012 348 5287

Cell: 083 469 3886 (Before 20 June 2008)

There will be a charge of R60.00 per person for lunch and drinks, which can be paid at Registration.
Notice is also hereby given of the AGM of the Association, which will be held during lunch. Any matters to be placed on the agenda should please also be referred to Jeanette van der Breggen.
Notice is hereby given that, at the AGM of the Association to be held on 12 July 2008, a proposal will be tabled to amend the Constitution of the Association with respect to the financial year of the Association to move this from 1 May to 30 April of the following year to 1 January to 31 December each year, to commence from 1 January 2009. The reason for this amendment is to have the financial year of the Association run concurrently with that of the school as the audits of both will henceforth be done together.
The proposal involves an amendment to Clause 13 of the Constitution which currently reads as follows:
“Official Year of the Association:
13 The official year, as well as the financial year, of the Association shall commence on the 1st of May each year and end on 30th of April each year.”
It is proposed that this paragraph be amended as follows:
“Official Year of the Association:
13 The official year, as well as the financial year, of the Association shall commence on the 1 January each year and end on 31 December each year.”
1946 June Bracey (Gyngell)
Thanks for the very interesting newsletter. I am anchored here in Somerset West and see nobody. What a wonderful life some of the girls have, being overseas and travelling around.

I have lost contact with the only Old Girl I know in Somerset West Joan Mary (Nothard)

1947 Mairead Williams (Mcdonald)
In trying to set up the 60 years on for the ‘47 Matrics, I had a nice letter from the middle Angus daughter, Rosemary Creswell, to which she appended the following:
"My family details: Rosemary Cresswell (Angus) now a great-grandmother lives comfortably and happily in her cottage, Unit 79, Marmanet Retirement Village, 248 Bergriver Rd, Terenure, Kempton Park. Tel 011 976 9179. My daughter, Mariana, and her family, and my son, Johan, and his family, live just a few minutes away from me. My eldest son is domiciled at Silver Lakes, outside Pretoria. I have five granddaughters in Gauteng and my only grandson David, lives in Christchurch, NZ. My three little grandsons are also in Kempton Park. So you see it’s a very family orientated life that I lead. I am an active member of the local Methodist Church."
1951 Jeanette Eve (van der Riet)
I should also like you to include a bit about the late Sally Sampson (1950) in the next newsletter. I've adapted a few excerpts from the eulogy I delivered at her funeral in the Grahamstown Cathedral.
Sarah 'Sally' Mary Sampson (1950) died on 25 November 2007 after a short illness. Sally was an unusual person, completely unselfconscious and not always aware that her high volume questions about personal matters might cause embarrassment! But she cared deeply about people: her family (including her three sisters, Georgina, Caroline and Hattie who all attended St Mary's); her friends and acquaintances; the many folk who looked after her in recent years. Sally had a sharp mind and sense of humour, an amazing memory for detail, a somewhat eccentric form of graciousness and a generosity that knew few bounds.
From an early age Sally was afflicted by retinitis pigmentosa - RP - a degenerative eye disease. That and an increasingly severe hearing problem made life very difficult, but Sally soldiered on valiantly.
One of the legacies from her education by the CSMV Sisters at St Mary's DSG was her devotion to the church. She was word perfect in many of the collects and always knew where we were in the church's calendar. When regular attendance became difficult because of physical frailty, she would always make an effort, with the help of friends, to get to the cathedral on feast days.
Sally had a BA degree and a diploma in librarianship from Rhodes University. She was an ardent collector of books and, in her hey-day, published articles in magazines, newspapers and journals, which exemplified her sharp observation, meticulous historical research and splendid turn of phrase.
Sally lived in Grahamstown for more than half of her 74 years, and our little city is not the same without her and the special DSG flavour she brought to it.
1953 Susan Fenton (Entwistle)
For your information, I am still living in Mossel Bay - have been here for nearly four years, but my future plans are somewhat unsettled as my husband Keith died in December 2006. Please do continue to send me news of our beloved School and I hope that I will be able to attend one of the reunions in the next couple of years.
1954 Merriel Lane (Nimmo)
Perhaps Islay has told you that Elizabeth (Perrot) Coleman has died - she went to New Zealand and had lung problems and then went back to England where a lung tumour was discovered. Apparently she was waiting for chemo when she suddenly died - possible a stroke.
1958 Virginia Newton (Dugmore)
After leaving school I went to Johannesburg College of Education and trained as a primary school teacher. Pat Van der Valk and I were roommates for the three years. We have maintained our friendship since then. I taught for about 37 years in Pretoria and Johannesburg. The last 25 of those years were at Bryneven Primary in Bryanston where I became Head of Guidance. I loved teaching and would probably follow the same pattern if I had my life over again.
After retiring at the end of 2005, I spent several months Caring in the UK. I found that looking after two very dear old ladies in Sherston and Brockham was an interesting change from teaching. Living in those quaint English villages was almost like being on retreat. The pace was slow and the atmosphere relaxed. I combined these work stints with three trips to the States.
Trevor and I had three children who brought us great joy. Sadly Trevor passed away in 1992 before any of our children were married. I now have 5½ grandchildren. My youngest daughter Megan is having her second little one in April in Seattle where she and Travis live. Needless to say I am planning another visit to the States before our reunion.
I think that it is wonderful that so many of us are going to meet for our 50th anniversary and am so looking forward to seeing you all again.
1959 Verity Murray (Leith)
I look forward to attending Annual Old Girls Reunion next year for our 50th.
1962 Ann Vonk (Jonas)
We, my husband, Jan, and I have been living in Hout Bay since retirement in 1998.  I have now given up riding and play a lot of tennis instead. Hout Bay is (still) small enough to have a good community inter-action which we find really great. My son is married to Kim (Meyer) 1992 and they have two sons. 


I notice that there is no correspondence from anyone from ‘my’ year.  A few of us had a get together a couple of years ago – Colleen Smith (von Pittius), Penny Simpson, Jeanne (Pistorius) and Denise from 1993 (van Schaik).  A great time was had by all.  Gilly Shreeve (Kossuth) lives a block away from us.  As our daughter lives in England, I keep up with Monica Kenny (Grant Mackenzie) most years – she is just fine. Jill Castle (Fleming) now lives in south western France.


Most winters we head north to see our daughter and her growing family in England.  For the last ten years we have then headed off to our yacht which we moor in different marinas every year.  At present Chispa is in Pula, northern Croatia.  We have a website which you may enjoy looking at.

1962 Dianne Martin
 I have had a wonderful time with my dear old school friend, Celeste Black, (Wagner), in Charlotte, North Carolinathis past week.  She and I were at school at DSG, and although she was five years behind me at school, we remember one another well. We used to catch the same school bus from Arcadia in the 60s, and I also remember her from the prep room, as we were both day girls, who stayed for games in the afternoons.  We met on line about a year and a half ago, and she has so wanted me to come and visit her. We have talked so much about our old school days and remembered so many things about DSG, even though we have not seen one another for over 40 years!! I have been here a week, and fly back tonight to Dallas, TX, where I live.  I have loved this part of the USA, and could gladly retire here. Charlotte and North Carolina have so much to offer, yet do not have the hectic pace of the bigger cities. We went up into the mountains for two days, where Celeste’s husband, Steve's family live, and we travelled all along the Blue Ridge and Smokey Mountains, and saw the most magnificent sights and views. All the mountain laurel bushes were in bloom, and they were a sight to behold!! We visited with Steve's three sisters and their families - they were so hospitable, and it was fun meeting with them. We saw some famous sights - Cold Mountain - where the story of the movie takes place, the Biltmore Mansion - the magnificent estate of the Van der Bilts, and so much more on the road up and back, and through the mountains. People in Charlotte are so hospitable and kind, and Celeste, Steve, and her friends have really shown me true southern hospitality. We have been out almost every night, and people have been so wonderful to me.  One of her friends, Pat , is a tour guide, so she took us on a tour of Charlotte, and to the Hezekiah Alexander house, (an 18th century early settler to Charlotte from Virginia,)  and also the Charlotte History Museum and the Mint Museum - the city was named after England's George 111's wife , Charlotte of Mecklenburg. All the streets in downtown Charlotte have the royal crown on them - they still acknowledge the old British royal emblem. I also found out that alluvial gold was first discovered in Charlotte in the early 1800's, before it was panned out, and the find was made in California. I used to work as a guide at Gold Reef City in Joannesburg for many years prior to leaving South Africa - so I was fascinated by all this. The first USA Mint was here in Charlotte. There is so much early USA history here, and I am fascinated by it. We did not manage to get to the sea, but it is only 3 hours away- so next time I visit, we will go to one of the seaside places and visit Raleigh and Duke University, about two hours north of Charlotte. Last night we were out on their boat on Lake Norman, to watch the July 4th fireworks all along the lake shore - it was fabulous!! I will take back with me fond memories of this area of the USA - Charlotte reminds me so much of Pretoria - I could easily live here! The area is covered in the most magnificent trees, which I have sorely missed in Texas all these years. So I feel invigorated, and am ready to go back and work for a part of the month of July. I then leave again for San Francisco, and the Napa Valley to the wedding of the son of an old Pretoria and DSG friend who lives in Chicago, (she was there from Grade 1- Std. 5 - Lindy Rubin, (Greenwall))  at the beginning of August. I will be working part time for a few weeks till the end of July, before I go back to teaching Latin and Speech in late August at the high school, where I have been for the past seven years. I must also help my daughter Jody with all her requirements for going back for her junior year to Texas A and M University near Houston in the Fall.  I feel rested and have so enjoyed this week away from home - it has been a good break, and I am ready to get back - but I look forward to coming out here again. Celeste and her husband are coming to stay with us over our Christmas break, and we will all go down to San Antonio, Texas for a few days - they are such a wonderful couple. Both of them are studying for their Masters degrees - his in Business and hers in Education - she teaches in an elementary school in Corcorde near Charlotte.  Celeste and I plan to come back to South Africa to see family, and friends and to be in Pretoria for her 40th Reunion at DSG in 2008.
Celeste forwarded me some wonderful photos of the 2007 Old Girls Reunion, including those of the new Angelus bell and of the front of the school and some of the class of 1957. Yesterday, my sister, Sandra Tarlie sent me some more photos, with those of her class of 1957, and a very special photo of Mother Joan, and one of the prefects board of my year, with my name on it. I felt quite emotional and nostalgic to see all these, and wished I had been there for the Reunion.
 I wonder if you could help me. I have been trying, in vain, for a few years to locate Yvonne Steyn, the mother of Cheryl Catarino, (Steyn.) who matriculated with me in 1962. I have also tried to contact Cheryl over the years - I know that her husband was Ambassador for Portugal to the USA from 2002 - 2006 - and although I had left countless messages at the Embassy, and tried to email her, I have had no response. I think that they have now returned to Portugal. However, I am interested in finding her mother, who used to live in Albert Street in Waterkloof, but I do not think that she lives there any longer, as the mail I have sent her in the past two years has been returned to me. I would so like to find her, as she was very close and good to me in the years before I left South Africa, and my daughter and I used to visit her often. If you do not know where she is, maybe some of my old classmates would. None of them have kept in contact with me over the years, except for dear Mignon du Toit, who died a few years ago. I know that Wendy Utermark (Brink) would know where she may be, as well as Anne Marie Dixon, (I do not know her married name.) I am so keen to find her before it is too late. She is now probably in her 80s and may have moved into a retirement home. I want to update her on all our news - if you had an address and a phone number - it would be wonderful.
I plan to start my M Ed in the Spring (USA) of 2008 - I will do it in Linguistics. It is never too late to study!!
1965 Vanessa Eales (Brathwaite)
Joan Turk and Vanessa Eales would like to know if any Old Girls would like to meet in London next year in October 2008 with a view to starting a London Branch of DSG Old Girls.

Joan has proposed using the Hurlingham club facilities, as she is a member. The initial thought is to have a Saturday lunchtime meeting, inviting Mother Barbara and Sister Deirdre Michel to join us. We do need to know how other “Old Girls” feel about this idea and have some rough idea of numbers.

Please could all interested people contact me direct on and Joan and I will develop this proposal further.
1965 Jennie O’Hagan (Dickie)
I am Deputy Principal at Sunnyside Primary and have been teaching English at Sunnyside for the past 15 years. I do find it rewarding as perhaps five learners have English as their home language and we have 1080 learners enrolled at our school.


In February 2007, Joan Turk came out for a short holiday and several of us got together for a delightful luncheon. It was really good to see ex classmates, some I had not seen since 1965!!!!!!

1965 Sister Barbara Claire
As you may know, I came out of office as Mother in December 2006, and the Community granted me a wonderful 4-month sabbatical period. I spent almost a month in George, alongside my father who is in a care home there, and then went on to Egypt where my brother Terence Kelly (ex St Alban’s College) is living and working. I had a wonderful fortnight there and then returned to the UK, where I spent time in Cornwall and Yorkshire before moving just over a month ago to our house in Smethwick in the West Midlands. I am enjoying this rich multicultural environment and all the opportunities it presents.
1965 Pippa Corte (Pank)
I am sending you the website of the business that I manage just for your entertainment!
1966 Gill Woolmer (Hall)
I have been amazed and overwhelmed by the reaction I have got from everyone since the news of Bob's death in Jamaica.   The Class of '66 have been wonderful and lots of them have contacted me after all these years since we left DSG - it has been lovely to hear from them.  Old friends are always the best!   Shirley (Pocock) and Jill (Cochran), Denise (Hills) and I had a gorgeous lunch at the Cellars Hohenhort Hotel in Constantia; it was great to re-connect and a big thank you to all who contributed.  I needed a break!
1968 Celeste Wagner (Black) 
It is always so uplifting to read through everyone's emails!  I have some exciting news to add to the next big 'letter sending'!  Our son, Tristan, finally, after 31 years, was married on March 7th, 2007, to - and this is the best part, seeing as he's been living in the US since age three, - a South African girl who moved to England five years ago!  Liza Coetzee was originally from Boksburg, and when she moved to the UK she met my cousin's daughter through work, and they became best friends.  Charne (cousin's daughter) and I were yahoo-chatting in July 2006 and I BEGGED her to help me find a wife for Tristan, as he wasn't doing much about trying to find one!  He kept telling me that the Lord would provide.  Well, with a little bit of help from us the Lord did provide and during August, Charne pretended to leave chatting with Tristan to get a drink or something and asked Liza to chat in the meantime.  So, needless to say, they got hooked and in January Liza said that when she came over in March they should get married. 
They did and he now lives in the UK!!  Steve and I miss him terribly, but we are so thrilled that he has found such a wonderful wife - and she is wonderful - and hopefully, after a couple of years, they'll come back to the States to have those longed-for grandchildren.
But my dream came true - he married someone who would have the same longing I do, for our good old Africa - as it gets lonely so far from home. 
Just a short note here from Dianne Martin and myself!!  Yes! Dianne and I found each other on SAReunited last year and she was able to come up for a week - our holidays here!  She graduated in 1962 and was a prefect - and I was terrified of her!  We used to take the same bus to school. 


It has been like we've known each other forever - but then DSG girls are forever!  She had some old yearbooks - with Mother Joan's letters etc.  It has been wonderful.

I'm so disappointed that I won’t make our 40th, but will be thinking of all of you on July 12th having a blast!  I will be in England visiting with my son and his wife of one year, Liza. Imagine - they both had to go to opposite continents to meet up!  That's life I suppose.  So have fun and please contact me and let me know how it all went down. 


If you send me your landline numbers I can contact you by phone and we can chat as long as you like!!  I hope I hear from all of you soon. Happy 40th,

1968 Marion Morris (Gilbertson)
I would like to know whether you have had any interest from the class of 1968 in attending the reunion on July 12th. I've been living in New Zealand since 2005 but will be in S.A in July so will be able to attend.
1968 Sally Cotterell (Gordon-Bennett)
Just to say that I will definitely be attending the Reunion on 12 July. I hope we have a good turnout.
1968 Anne Rice (Wolfaard)
Unfortunately I will not be able to attend Reunion this year. If anyone does come to England, I live near Marlow in Buckinghamshire and would love to see you.
1969 Irene Downer
Toastmasters Southern Africa Conference took place in North Gauteng last year and my role was PR/Marketing and the hosting of our International Guest Speaker from the States, a wonderful person and motivational speaker - he was a former World Champion of Public Speaking. The planning and organisation with the rest of the team certainly took up a huge amount of time and energy. I joined Toastmasters some 22 years ago and do not know where all these years have gone! This is double the amount of school years - scary stuff. On a point of information, I uncharacteristically competed in the Impromptu Contest and to my horror won the different levels and ended up representing North Gauteng region (Div A) in the national finals. I was not placed as the competition was very strong, but it was good experience and in a way, fun.
Not sure whether you were aware of ex-staff member, Marie Kingwill's passing away in November 2007. I kept in touch with her over the years although I had not seen her at all during 2007 despite intentions to visit her - she had apparently become very frail after several falls. She was an excellent Geography Teacher in Matric. I attended her Memorial Service in Glenhaven as the sole and almost unofficial representative of DSG - it was well attended by friends and family with an incredibly interesting tribute prepared by her youngest son, Bruce (now living in France). I had intentions of visiting her during the festive season and truly regretted not having done so earlier. She was the last link of the teaching staff for the class of '69 - my Matric year - all our previous teachers have now passed away.
There is still one previous classmate Brenda and I were never able to track down i.e. Susan M. Brown (generally referred to as "SMB"). She seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth - we believe she studied possibly for a B.A, majoring in English, at Wits way back in the early seventies. We would like to complete our list of the class of '69 with the next major landmark anniversary looming next year i.e. our 40th - could you possibly put the word out in "missing persons" in the April Newsletter? She is NOT to be confused with another younger Susan Brown, the sister of my classmate, Denise Brown. Brenda was intending to try the Alma Mater records at Wits to see if we could find something of her whereabouts here.
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