GHS mourns the death of ‘a great teacher’

2020-02-06 11:55
Susan Allison, former principal of Girls’ High School.

Susan Allison, former principal of Girls’ High School.

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The greater Girls’ High School community is mourning the loss of their former principal Susan Allison.

Allison spent 36 years at GHS.

A former pupil of the school herself, she joined the staff in 1974 as a maths teacher, subsequently serving as principal from 1998 until her retirement in 2009. She had described all those years as “fun years, enjoyable and rewarding”, said her daughter, Tania Klintworth.

“Her pupils were fondly referred to as ‘her girls’.

She was known for her love of animals and particularly the wild birds that she invited regularly to join her and her dignitary guests for tea (mostly to their absolute horror!). Her black starling, Barbara, held a very special place in her heart and she will always be remembered for the birds, the wild cats, kittens and more that she rescued.

“At home it could be pretty much described as a menagerie — her pets included horses, dogs, cats, a goat called Mo, with mohair quite akin to her own white hair!” said Klintworth.

Allison was very involved in dog training, more so when she wasn’t able to physically ride horses anymore.

Allison is survived by her daughters Klintworth and Charis Meyer. She also had four grandchildren, and two additional step-grandchildren.

Klintworth said with her mother’s very busy life, “she did somehow find enough time for us, her other girls”.

Klintworth said her mother also enjoyed many travelling adventures in her life and her fondest memories, amongst others were Egypt, Malawi, Kenya, Canada, the U.S. (highlight ski slopes in Vail, Colorado) Europe and Australia.

“Mom fought off ovarian cancer and won 15 years ago.”

“She remained in remission for many years until mid 2019 when the struggle started again and she fought it with grace, dignity and humour until her last day.”

GHS posted on their Facebook page that Allison will be remembered for “her reassuring calmness and empathy in all of her dealings with others”.

Principal Andrew Graaf said she was “an outstanding maths teacher whose name is frequently mentioned by past pupils returning for Reunion Day celebrations”.

Posting on the GHS Facebook page, Margaret Baird Muir described Allison as a “great teacher and compassionate lady”.

“I remember her noticing me being very nervous before my matric maths exam. [She] took me from the room and helped me relax so I could think. I went on to major in Mathematics in my teacher training. RIP Mrs Allison.”

Andrea Pepper van Schalkwyk said, “I remember her as a dynamic, free-thinking woman and teacher.”

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  ghs
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