In Memory

Anthony (Abe) Walter

Anthony Walter (usually known as "Abe", from his initlals AB)  attended DHS only in our final year of 1961, but in that time became widely liked and formed relationships which lasted for the rest of his life.  He came to DHS from St Aldan's in Grahamstown because his father, who had been a founder member of the Old Boys Club, wanted Abe and his brother Steve to experience life at the school.  Abe greatly enjoyed his year at DHS and became a keen supporter of the Old Boys,  where he played rubgy and water polo.

After school Abe took a diploma in Marketing Management and began a career with Phoenix flooring, which he and partners took over and eventually built into a major supplier of flooring materials in South Africa.  He retired from the company twelve years ago.  Abe had a wide social circle, with a repuation as genial friend and an entertaining raconteur.  He took particular pleasure in fishing, as can be seen in his grin in this photo from 2010:


Abe married and had three children, Sean (now in the UK), Susan (now in Australia) and Sarah (living in SA).  His marriage ended in divorce,  but soon after he met his soul partner Jane Upton and lived happily with her for the rest of his life.

His friend Tony Daymond (Class of 1963) writes:  

Abe was known and loved by many and was always a great story teller. He and I fished many hours together so I was a great fan and listened to the stories of veld and bush that he loved so much. As we grew older the stories expanded ,stretching the truth but, always full of fun and laughter. 

He never lost the personal touch and often travelled the country with his reps. There is barely a town throughout southern Africa where he was not known. Just walk into the many Crown or Royal hotels and there will be those who knew A.B.Walter.

He spent many years playing rugby and water polo at DHSOB where his friendship was valued by many. He defined friendship by way of his unconditional acceptance and always with respect.

Abe attended our 50 year reunion in Durban in 2011, taking evident pleasure in reconnecting with many friends from his schooldays.  Here's a photo of him with with classmates Tony Crosby and Peter Slater:

Unfortunately Abe was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2008.  He underwent heavy radiation which cured the cancer but caused extensive damage to nerves in the neck, resulting in chronic pain and disability in his left shoulder.  Characteristically, he commented that "I am however greatful, because things could always be worse, especially when I think about other cancer sufferers I know".  Abe lived with these medical problems for several years, but experienced breathing difficuties in September 2017 and was admitted to an intensive care unit.  His condition deteriorated and he suffered a heart attack,  then seemed to recover, but finally relapsed and passed away on 2nd October.

Abe Walter is survived by his partner Jane Upton; his siblings Jenny, Sally, Felicity, Moira, Biddy, and Steve; his children Sean, Susan, and Sarah, and their spouses and his four grandchildren.



[Thanks to Nick Gray and Tony Daymond for their help with this In Memory notice]





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15/10/17 04:56 PM #1    

Peter Bydawell (Class Of 1964)

I did not know AB at school (Being a third former in 1961) and first crossed paths when we were team mates at DHSOB rugby and subsequently at unusual places, like sponging down paddlers with iced water at dogs leg rapid during a hot day on the duzi canoe marathon. Our friendship developed while attending many swimming galas (under duress) and lifesaving competitions watching our kids compete. AB was an oasis in the desert at these events and never showed up without a well stocked cool box of cold beer to help ease the pain of sitting on hard benches for hours on end.

For me, however the defining moment came in the mid eighties after I had retired from rugby and was actively involved in canoeing and running. I had entered the Savages marathon, a standard marathon of 42kms which started at the New Kingsmead Stadium and comprised two laps around Durban North and finished at the Athletics track. As I was not in particularly good shape had intended to complete only 1 lap as a training run and took off casually a few minutes after the start. Running down NMR avenue I caught the first whiff of a brewery smell which I put down to probably a shebeen on adjacent Windsor Park Golf Course. However the whiff became stronger and the source soon became apparent. Surely not?, AB, built like a brick outhouse, a prop forward of note, the complete opposite physique of a distance runner, taking part in a marathon?. Regarding the beer smelling sweat that was starting to pour out, AB explained that he had only got home in the early hours from a party and decided that if he went to bed would never get up, so had kitted up in running gear and cat napped on the couch till picked up.

AB would have been the last person I could think of to bump into running a marathon. Nevertheless, pleased to find some company, we ran and chatted together for a while, me thinking he would be lucky to last 10ks, when he casually informed me he intended to run the full marathon to get a qualifying time for the Comrades (4hrs 30mins). Naturally I thought he was taking the piss at first but it turned out to be serious. This made my planned one lap effort look a bit wimpish, a prop forward running the full distance while fleet footed back line player only tackling half distance. Nothing motivates me more in life than a challenge and we finished the first lap, surprisingly, in relatively reasonable condition, so I changed strategy and agreed to go the full distance. Whats more, as I had something of a reputation for cutting it fine in these races (and comrades) I assured him if he stuck with me we would do it.  

Predictably the second lap turned into a battle as banter dries up and easy rhythm became a shuffle then uncoordinated stumble. Time wise we were running on the red line with no money in the bank, and AB responded magnificently to the running/walking regimen. I expected him to blow at any moment but amazingly he was hanging in there. The course went along Kensington Drive near his house and his family came out with specially prepared energy drinks every time we went past. Despite needing all the help he could get AB insisted (to the annoyance of his family) on sharing this with all the desperados around him.

Unbelievably we were still on schedule when we hit the bridge at blue lagoon and AB suddenly upped the tempo, which in his words he likened to a machine which surges when about to run out of petrol and reached the 1 km to go mark with 6 minutes in hand (tight but managable).

Unfortunately his analogy with running out of petrol was close to the mark and we really struggled down NMR past Rovers with AB showing exceptional vasbyt and entered the stadium with 30 seconds to spare (This  from an official timekeeper)

Joy however turned to despair when we saw that we still had to run 300 metres around the track to the finish. We gave it a go but I ended up missing the cut off by seconds and as I crossed the finish line I turned to see where Tony was. The image will stay with me for the rest of my life, AB was about 50 metres back, jaw thrust out like Desperate Dan, charging down the track like a wounded buffalo, beaten maybe but unbowed.

In the circumstances It was incredible, scarcely believable, a truly magnificent effort. You would have to have done a bit of running to fully comprehend how difficult it is for a non runner of Tonys build to run a 4-30 standard marathon after partying all night. Ironically, shortly after this the qualifying time was strectched out to 4-45 in which case he would have shat in.

NKulu, that day you became a warrior and will always be in my memory.






16/10/17 12:31 PM #2    

Roy Henry

Abe was only at School for a year but it was on the rugby field and his reputation as a great guy to go to war which really  blossomed -especially after leaving school .He became the great character that everyone loved .I think Abe and Tony caught plenty shads and all ! My best wishes to his family and loved ones Deepest sympathy Roy Henry 

17/10/17 01:19 AM #3    

Anthony Crosby

I was saddened to receive the sad news re the passing of my great friend Tony " Abe" Walter. 

Like many of us I got to know Abe after leaving school. I met him at Old Boyd Club around 1963 and formed a close and most enjoyable friendship. There were a very close group of us who spet a lot of our non working time together. All based around Old Boys club we all spent, probably far to much time at " The club" Sitting round the bar, laughing and telling stories ( many times repeated). While this may sound strange, somehow we never tierd of each others company. Great times and great memmories.

I played rugby with Abe for many years. He was a very good player and I was not.  Being a closed club in those days you could get a game playing with some good players even if you were ordanary!!  I played hooker and Abe was my Loose head and on  occasions tight head. I was more talk than action and on many occasions Abe " bailed  me out with statements like " You have to go through me to get to him" Thank goodness for Abe protecting me.

After leaving Durban in mid 1969 with Barry Purdham ( We headded off to London)  I stayed in touch with Abe.   Always catching up on return visits and on occasions when he visited Australia.  We always enjoyed these catch ups and relived our past lives in Durban.

It was fantastic to spend time with Abe while in Durban for the 50 Year reunion. 

Tony Abe Walter was a wonderful friend, a man of great integritary ,a great  family man and will be sorely missed. He leaves behind a legacy of the highest order. Gone but NEVER forgotten.

I know his great friend Dave Sawers will miss him terribly.  Only positive for you Davie is you will have more fish to catch now your close fishing buddy has cast his last line.

I , like so many am so proud to have been able to call Abe a friend. Those of us that were close to him are better people  for having the privilege of knowing him.

Rip Abe.      Ant ( Tony ) Crosby.

























19/10/17 05:49 AM #4    

Bruce Pooley

I am sorry to hear that Tony has passed away - My sympathy and condoleces to his family

Tony and I grew up near each other in Durban North and were friends before he came to DHS and it was a pleasant surprise to see him at school and to have company on the bus ride home.

Tony was always very friendly and had a great sense of humour. He was also quietly rebelloius and at times led/assisted me astray. eg going to his house and changing into "forbidden" blue jeans and going off to the DLI Hall in Greyville to see Dickie Loader and the Blue Jeans.

We both loved to fish and, one morning during Matric swot leave, there was a knock on the door. Outside stood Tony with his fishing gear and all he said was "The shad are running at Beachwood" - No other invitation was needed.

God bless, Tony


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