Tributes have been pouring in for Pietermaritzburg's Merchiston Preparatory School’s Headmaster, Dave Beetar, who died on Saturday night due to Covid-19 related illness.
Beetar’s wife, Trish, said her husband had dedicated 33 unwavering years to Merchiston, and nearly 40 years to education in South Africa.
“He touched so many lives, and it is absolutely tragic that his own life came to an end just as he reached his retirement,” she said.
Trish went on to thank the staff and Merchiston community for their support and kind messages over the past few weeks.
“Dave dedicated his life to kindness, helping others without question and without judgement. He put the well-being of Merchiston – students and teachers alike – above his own needs, sacrificing so much for the happiness of those he cared about. He loved Merchiston. He was one of a kind, and we are all blessed to have had him in our lives,” said Trish.
Due to Covid-19 protocols, the family said they would be keeping numbers of funeral attendees low and said the school will communicate more details in due course.
In a statement, deputy headmaster, Eric White said, “Our deepest condolences to Trish, Matthew, Nathan and Andrew and the entire Beetar family at the untimely loss of their beloved husband, father, son, brother and friend.”
He went on to say, “Dave, we will miss you terribly and we will never forget you. You have been such an important part of our lives and have added so much to who we have become,” said White.
The school’s Facebook page was flooded with messages of condolence from the Merchiston community who described Beetar as a “wonderful” man and an “outstanding teacher”.
Jenni Edwards said, “Our deepest condolences Trish and family, keeping you in our thoughts and prayers. A wonderful man who had the time for individuals, teams and the community as a whole. He grew our Merchie mudrats into true gentleman.”
Winks Pienaar said, “A truly wonderful man, who had a heart of gold. Deepest sympathy to his family, Merchiston family and friends.”
Melanie Jane Martin said, “He made us feel like family the minute we met him and joined the Merchiston Preparatory School family. Our hearts are broken, and we send love and condolences to the family.”
Rory John Bremner said, “This is incredibly sad news. My condolences go out to the Beetar family as well as the entire Merchiston community. The Maritzburg community as a whole have lost a wonderful man, outstanding teacher and phenomenal role model. Rest in peace Mr Beetar.”