Obituary: popular maths lecturer George Parish

2013-09-23 00:00

MATHEMATICS lecturer at the Pietermaritzburg campus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal and Anglican priest, the Reverend George Loring Delville Parish, died on September 8 at the age of 87.

His close friend, Dr Costas Zaverdinos, said Parish was a senior lecturer at UKZN who retired in 1985 but rejoined in 2000 and lectured part-time until his death.

Parish was born in Durban on July 18, 1927.

“At 16 he started studying at the University of Natal in Durban. A year later, pretending to be 18 years old, he joined the South African Air Force and was trained as a pilot at Dunnaton. Although World War 2 ended before he could see action, his love of flying remained with him,” said Zaverdinos.

Parish resumed studying at the then University of Natal in Pietermaritzburg in 1946. He obtained a B.Sc. with Mathematics and Physics as majors as well as a University Diploma in Education (UED).

His teaching career began at Greytown High School where he taught mathematics and physical science (in Afrikaans).

He married Theo in 1952 and the couple had three children.

But Parish’s “heart longed to fly” and the family moved to Gwelo in Rhodesia (now Gweru, Zimbabwe), where he joined the Rhodesian Royal Air Force.

“Sixty years later he would still entertain us with his stories about adventurous solo flights over the Rhodesian bushveld. He was an airman for altogether eight years,” said Zaverdinos.

He said Parish’s teaching style was “characterised by thoroughness, great patience and care for his students”.

In 1983 students voted him the most popular lecturer on campus.

Parish was also a lay minister in the Anglican Church for many years.

In 1969, following what he saw as a miraculous recovery from a cancer operation, he was inspired to become a priest.

In 1989 he became deacon and on December 15, 1990 he was ordained as a priest in the Anglican Cathedral of the Holy Nativity, Pietermaritzburg.

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