My January 1964 arrival at Treverton as a 19 year old founder member of staff, a thousand miles from home and loved ones, is indelibly etched in my memory. After a two day train journey from Cape Town, Lyn Gowar and I were warmly welcomed by Derek and Marge who immediately made us feel part of their family and it’s been my joy to remain life long friends. The Huddies as they were fondly called, were an Amazing Team. From day one, Marge proved to be one of the most unassuming and selfless ladies I have ever met. She taught me much about the gift of Christian hospitality. Besides being an expert knitter, Marge was a wonderful homemaker and by creating a magnificent garden in each of her Mooi River and Pietermaritzburg homes, Marge brought pleasure to many passers by.I was amazed at how youthful Marge looked in 1964 and was impressed that at only 33 years of age, she was about to immerse herself wholeheartedly in the hectic life of a brand new headmaster with a zeal and a passion for education that left us gasping. Before long Marge revealed through her tireless devotion that she was also an extremely competent young Mum to their three children, Donald (11) Jenny (9) and young Colin (4) Then in 6 months’ time, we were all to share the excitement of the arrival of baby Barbara on 5 June.
It amazed us that Marge was able to share Huddy so generously with numerous folk who all made demands on his time and talents, or simply wanted to enjoy his kindly friendship. Their home was a welcoming haven and a nurturing Home from Home for boys and staff alike. As new young teachers not yet accustomed to the icy Mooi River winters and without heating in the dorms, we were invited to mark our school books and prepare new lessons at the Huddies fireside. Staff Bible studies and fellowship evenings in their lounge proved to be great times of enrichment and spiritual blessing.
Marge learnt to be totally adaptable and flexible, never knowing exactly when Derek would return from his many meetings and extended interviews. She could never be quite certain how many she was catering for because passers-by and new comers were often invited to join the family circle. Marge always seemed to be making up or stripping beds and their spare room was seldom unoccupied.
We all loved Marge’s infectious sense of humour and her hearty chuckle. In my 15 years at Treverton and in our 57 years of friendship, I never once heard Marge utter an unkind word or lose her temper. She put up with many intrusions and unexpected inconveniences. Huddy was a magnet to hordes of endearing little Prep pupils in orange and grey tracksuits who thronged their bedroom window at 6.30 to see if he was ready to accompany them on the early morning run. Others came knocking late at night for Huddy’s famous chocolate coated homesick pills while others wanted him to mend a bicycle puncture, make a kite tail, help saddle a horse, shoot the rapids with them or help them pitch a tent for weekend sleepovers.Marge was the Prep School secretary for several years and remained cheerful and serene at the most frenetic times of the school year. She was a skillful touch typist and typed all our exam papers on wax stencils and printed them on a Gestetner machine. Marge was highly respected in the community when she served alongside Huddy as Mayoress of Mooi River and was greatly loved as the Pietermaritzburg Rotary Ann President.
I salute Marge and Huddy for being an awesome A Team, a United force for good, as tireless workers and utterly selfless surrogate parents, confidantes and mentors to scores of Treverton pupils, staff members, school parents and local community members. We shall never forget the difference you made in our lives and we thank God for every precious memory we have.
Marge loved her four children dearly and spoke fondly of their loyal commitment to her. Donald stood by his mom valiantly after Huddy’s death and she greatly missed his company and practical help in the home after he too succumbed to cancer. Barbara’s regular visits from the UK and frequent phone calls cheered Marge greatly. My heart goes out to Jenny and Heiko, Colin and Clare and their daughters Jess and Kate, who have supported Marge with such loving devotion. It’s been particularly difficult for the family and very distressing for Marge as there have been strict lockdown rules in the Care Centre. The Treverton Family shares your enormous sense of loss and sadness at saying farewell to such a precious mother and Gran. We send our heartfelt condolences across the miles and we pray that you will experience the peace and comfort of our Heavenly Father in the days ahead.