Obituary: Tickey de Jager, beloved maths educator and textbook author

2008-03-04 00:00

WELL-known teacher of mathematics and writer of mathematics textbooks, Tickey de Jager (87), died in the city last weekend.

Born on a farm at Prieska and a graduate of the University of Stellenbosch, De Jager was the “Mr Chips” of Rondebosch Boys’ High in Cape Town where he was involved for 38 years, taught for 34 years and became deputy principal.

While his first love was mathematics, during his time at the school he also taught English, Afrikaans, Science and Pure Physics.

He was a major writer of school mathematics textbooks and a founder and very active member of the Mathematics Association of South Africa, which became the Association of Mathematics Educators of South Africa. He also had a great love for poetry and music.

His analytical approach made him a very successful coach of rugby, cricket and athletics, in the case of some athletes to national level.

A former pupil, Richard Steyn, one-time editor of The Witness, said:“I shall remember him with great fondness — a great maths teacher — even for those like me who were hopeless at maths, who taught me Bridge and English poetry, a superb rugby coach and an all-round lovely man. He was an adornment to the teaching profession.”

De Jager’s first wife, Clare, died in 1991 and in 1999 he married a long-time mathematics associate, Marianne de Vries, which brought him to Pietermaritzburg where he spent his last years. Besides her he leaves behind two children, one in New Zealand, three step-children and three grandchildren in New Zealand.

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