THE Port Shepstone community paid tribute to the deceased former school principal, Nadasen Marimuthoo Pillay, recently. Pillay, who died peacefully at home after a short illness on September 17, was born in Kelso on December 1, 1934. He was known as a respected teacher and dynamic community leader in Port Shepstone, who despite growing up in abject poverty, rose above his adversities.After completing matric at Umzinto High School, he trained at the Springfield College of Education where he obtained a diploma in education. He then obtained three degrees from the University of South Africa. He served as principal in several schools including Louisiana Primary, R.A. Engar Primary, Port Shepstone Primary and Naidoo Memorial Primary as well as others in Durban before retiring in 1991 and moving on to being Port Shepstone Museum curator for 26 years. “He never missed an opportunity to share his knowledge and experience, and his love for education followed him until the final days of his life. His motto was ‘treat every child as though he or she is your own child’,” his family said in a statement.A familiar face at the Albersville sports ground, Pillay was also an avid sportsman and obtained provincial colours in soccer and athletics with an interest in cricket, golf, rugby and motor racing and his favourite, walking. His other passion was music and he won hearts with his Elvis Presley impersonations in his younger years, and cultural and spiritual renditions at temple prayers as he matured.Loved ones describe him as “one with a zest for life and an infectious laugh”.“He had the remarkable ability to communicate with the young and old and livened up any situation with a joke, although he was also great at giving valuable advice and guidance,” they said. He served in various charities and at the time of his death he was a trustee of the Saiva Vazhipatu Kazhagam of SA, the Port Shepstone Hindu Cultural Federation and the Port Shepstone Hindu Education Society. Pillay was also the chairman of the Saiva Vazhipatu Kazhagam of SA (Port Shepstone branch) for the past 20 years where he was instrumental in promoting the Tamil language, culture and religion. “Mr Pillay was a rare individual. A multitalented man who excelled at whatever he did.” So much so that he earned the nickname ‘Excellent’ while at school. He set high standards and led by example. He has left an indelible mark, and indeed, a legacy for his followers. “His life story is one of admiration: a child born into a peasant family, who broke free from the shackles of poverty, achieved his dreams and aspirations and set ablaze a path of enlightenment for all who knew him. Pillay is survived by his wife Thirumathie Devi Pillay, children Nancy, Kumaren and Bavani, son-in-law Andrew, daughter-in-law Indra, and grandchildren Anuri, Simran and Amethyst.- Supplied.