In Memory

Colin Herd

Colin Herd was well liked as an amiable and engaging classmate.  He also had a keen, thoughtful intelligence and was a shrewd observer of the world around him.  Colin spent his first two years at DHS in the Latin classes, and then his last two in the newly created "advanced mathematics" classes of 5AMA  and 6 AMA.  He later put his mathematical skills to good use in a career as an accountant.  At school he was an enthusiastic hockey player and a member of the school hockey team.  

Colin had a severe speech defect during his schooldays, a stammer that unfortunately limited his interaction with classmates.  The stammer made it difficult for him to initiate conversations, and some schoolmates were reluctant to talk with Colin for fear of embarrassing him.  Colin, however, bore this impediment with characteristic courage and equanimity -- he was more likely to grin at verbal lapses than to show any distress.    Classmates also noticed that although even routine greetings were difficult for him, he could produce a startling torrent of highly flavoured oaths when he wanted to.  This ability offered hope that Colin might one day become equally fluent in ordinary speech, and so it proved:  in later life Collin's stutter was barely detectable.

This photo of Colin, taken around 1962,  captures his characteristic grin!

After school Colin became an articled clerk at the Durban chartered accounting firm of Compton and Horne.  After a few years of working in Durban, Colin moved to Johannesburg to further his career.   There he met Lucia Nicholls (who confesses that she was smitten at first sight!) and they were married in 1972.  They had three children,  a daughter Catherine and sons Andrew and Ian.  

This photograph of the Herd family was taken at his daughter Catherine's wedding in 2001.  Colin is at left, then Catherine, then son-in-law Terry, then sons Andrew and Ian:

In Johannesburg Colin worked for some leading accountancy firms --   at first with Mackeurtons, then with Tapsa Group, and finally with Mitchell Cotts.  Thereafter he struck out on his own, as CMH Management Services.  He also became Managing Director of EPS, a company providing innovative office partitioning.  In his spare time he enjoyed writing, and over the years he produced drafts of such material as screen plays,  a Zulu Macbeth, and a historical work on the Battle of Isandlwana.

Colin eventually retired, and in 2010 he and Lucia decided to emigrate to the UK, where two of their children were already living.  They settled in Bristol, where Colin enjoyed recreations such as writing, golfing, and solving intellectual challenges like crosswords and sudoku (a Japanese logic-based numerical puzzle).  

This photo of Lucia, Colin, and their son Ian was taken in the UK several years ago.

Unfortunately Colin's health began to deteriorate around 2016, when he was diagnosed with a mild cognitive impairment which eventually progressed to dementia.  Then in 2017 he was diagnosed with melanoma and kidney cancer.  A slow decline with some surgical interventions followed, during which Colin was mostly in comfortable conditions at home in the care of Lucia.  Earlier this year, however, his health took a turn for the worse, and he passed away on 29 March 2022, from metastatic renal cell carcinoma.

Colin is survived by his Lucia, his wife of 50 years; his daughter Catherine and her husband Terry;  his son Andrew, his wife Wanda and their daughters Genre and Chenade;  and his son Ian and his wife  Becky.  All live in the UK, where Catherine is a university lecturer in plant science,  Andrew is a financial services project manager, and Ian is an independent contractor.


[Special thanks to Lucia Herd for her help with this In Memory notice]

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25/07/22 02:39 AM #1    

Michael Cornelissen (Class Of 1960)

Colin joined Compton & Horne as an articled clerk a year after I did.  He was very well liked and his stutter endeared him to us all the more.  He was articled to George MacLaren Ross, a partner of the firm who epitomized all the negative characteristics of "an accountant": dull, humourless, precise, and picky.  Colin did not get on well with his boss, inevitably referring to him as "George hanna hanna f------g Ross" a name which stuck to George Ross for many years thereafter.

A memorable Christmas party at a local hotel with free beer flowing saw Colin, well lubricated, standing face to face with teetotaller George Ross, emphasising his views with frequent taps of his forefinger against George's chest, whose shocked expression left no doubt as to what he was hearing from this 19 year-old articled clerk.

The confrontation ended suddenly and explosively when Colin, unexpectedly experiencing a bout of uncontrollable nausea, projectile vomited a mixture of samoosas and beer against his boss's chest.  We rallied around Colin and led him to safety leaving George cleaning the remains off his tie with a handkerchief.

Colin was a great guy and unique character.  I'm very sorry to hear of his illness and subsequent passing.  My condolences to his wife and family.

Michael Cornelissen Class of 1960

25/07/22 08:17 AM #2    

Dave Guy

Colin was a real character. Always with a smile on his face. Sorry to hear of his illness. Would like to read his article re Isandlwana
Condolences to his family. RIP.

25/07/22 10:35 AM #3    

Christopher Harris

I first met Colin when I joine 4A in 1959.  As mentioned elsewhere, he was an endearing character who was easily liked by all.  He had a mischievous sense of humour and used his stammer to  good effect when 'being funny."  I was always impressed by his easy flow of "colloquial language," when he would let fly without any sign of a stammer.  He joined the hockey squad and was a very useful player who enjoyed the physical confrontations which inevitable took place during very competitive games.  I knew he had joined Compton & Horne, as my father was a partner and mentioned him one night at the dinner table.  He must have made his mark if my father (who also suffered from an accountant's lack of humour or tolerance) asked me if I knew him.  I wish that I had been able to keep in touch with him but, as was common, we went our separate ways after School.  He was one of life's characters.  My condolences to his family 


26/07/22 01:00 PM #4    

Lee Irvine

Colin Herd was in several classes with me and was one of the outstanding characters. Forthright and extremely bright, he cruised through academically and he used his speech impediment to his advantage whenever caught short of instant answers to teachers' questions.

He was a keen participant in sport, with hockey probably his most succesful. His intensity was evident in everything he did and this made him a feared opponent on the hockey field.

Some years after leaving school, he moved to Joburg and our paths crossed again in business. 

He developed a passion for script writing and had thoughts of moving to Hollywood to further this. 

However, he decided to move to the U.K. to be closer to his children and we lost touch.

I was saddened to hear via Ian of his growing illness and even more so that he had passed away.

We have lost one of the Class of '61 characters.

Finally, he often spoke of the love of his life, Lulu to whom he was devoted with the intensity that epitomised everything that he did. My thoughts are with her as he leaves a huge void.

Lee Irvine.


26/07/22 05:14 PM #5    

Anthony Hill

I'm pretty sure I was in the same class as Colin for his whole time at DHS. Definitely in those 5 and 6 AMA's!

Yes, he had a bad stammer, and yes, he came from the Rough & Tough Bluff (which some people scorned at the time - not stopping to think what time Colin got up in the morning just to be at school on time), BUT he was one of the smartest and strongest guys I ever met with a deep soul and a wicked sense of humour. Obviously his writing ability that emerged later on spoke to his immense understanding of the world around him. 

Bumped into him often in my Varsity days after school and his views on life were always remarkably insightful. My sadness is we didn't all get to interact with him later in life. Proud to have known him.

26/07/22 06:08 PM #6    

John Cruise

Colin and I were classmates for the four years we were at DHS. We both lived on the Bluff and so had a long journey to and from School, which played havocwith our out-of-school time, especially after playing cricket for Balances 11th Eleven after school ended at 15h25 (I never could reconcile the oddity of that time. Why twenty-five past for pity's sake?).

Many were the days when I arrived home at Brighton Beach well after 19h00 after two bus rides - one into town and then one out of town, hoping that there would not be a delay between the rides. We were then expected to do homework and write hundreds of lines imposed on us by Mr Chater. Colin suffered under the same impedance, which prevented us from showing our true worth.

Colin's stammer was legendary. I swear he extended it depending on how searching the master's questions were. His strategy worked, as he gave the rest of us more time to consider the answer the master required, which made him a popular classmate.

One incident that I shall never forget happened During an Afrikaans lesson we had with Izak van Heerden, which was interupted when the leader of the school military band asked to address us and find out who would like to try out for the band. Only Colin raised his hand. The rest of us were schtum, not knowing what that entailed.

Izak told Colin to put down his hand.

"B-b-b-ut I-I-I w-w-wnt to p-p-play the b-b-bugle." stammered Colin.

"Nonsense, boy!" exclaimed Izak. "You are in the 3A class and are supposed to be bright. You are not in 3GB. You don't want to waste your brain power puffing mindlessly on a bugle." At which point Izak told the band leader to please leave the classroom (or words to that effect). 

And that was that. There was no point in arguing with Izak van Heerden, especialy when you had a stutter.

Poor Colin, much to his regret, as he confided in me, never joined the band and never played the bugle. Another brilliant orchestral career nipped in the bud! 

I lost touch with Colin after school, but those four years with him as a classmate were unforgetable.

My second son, had a stutter and still has a slight stutter. But Colin showed me that that was not an affliction that cannot be overcome.

My condolences to Lucia and the family, You appear to have had 50 glorious years married to Colin. Thank you for looking after my old schoolmate.

John Cruise



25/08/22 01:09 PM #7    

John Meyer

It was with great sadness that I read of Colins passing.We were friends for most of the latter years at DHS. WE played for the same cricket teams despite his stutter he had a wonderful sense of humour and was great company to be with.

John Meyer 

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