In Memory

Russell Tungay

Russell Tungay did well at DHS both academically and on the sports field. After leaving DHS he studied economics  in South Africa and in the US, where he was awarded a Master of Business Administration degree. Russell married Lynn Small in 1977. He was a keen pilot throughout his adult life.  

Russell died of died of lung cancer in Escourt on 27 February 2007, leaving Lynn and three sons. Please see classmates' words about Russell, below.

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31/07/10 08:13 AM #1    

Michael Cornelissen (Class Of 1960)

Russell Tungay was the son of the amazing Mrs Tungay, an icon to all boys who attended, as I did, DPHS.  She was a bundle of musical energy and taught generations of DPHS boys all the songs and melodies of the world.  She eventually started the Drakensberg Boys Choir which achieved a world renown second only to the Vienna Boys Choir (whom she also arranged for us to hear at DPHS).

Russell was her son, a quiet tousle-haired boy who had to maintain the necessary modesty and low profile naturally required of any boy whose parent was on the school staff.

I never knew Russell, but I certainly will never forget his mother.

RIP Russell

12/11/10 03:24 PM #2    

Richard Bell

Russell Maynard Tungay was born on 3 June 1944.  He was the youngest of the three sons of Ronny & Gwen Tungay.  Ronny worked for The Daily News & Gwen was a legendary teacher at DPHS.  My mother, Caroline Marion Bell, taught at DPHS with "Ma" Tungay for several years.

John Tungay, Russell's oldest brother, was a talented musician & played a major role in establishing the Drakensberg Boys' Choir School.  Peter, the middle son, served in the the SAAF Gymnasium in 1960 & was awarded his pilot's wings at CFS Dunottar that year.  Sadly, Peter was killed in a light aircraft crash near Richmond in 1961.

In 1958 Russell moved from DPHS to DHS, where I became close friends with him.  We were together in Forms 3BA, 4BA, 5AMB & 6 AMB.  Russell was always cheerful & I particularly recall his toothy smile.  He was a fit & strong  boy & did well in athletics & rugby.

The Tungay family lived in a lovely old house, with a huge garden, in Gordon Road.  At one stage Russell built himself a treehouse in one of the ancient, tall trees.  Unfortunately he fell from this lofty perch & was lucky "only" to break an arm.  "Ma" Tungay & Ronny generously hosted many "class parties" at their home.  Those parties were definitely among my happiest memories of my DHS years.

In 1962 Russell & I did our basic training in the SAAF Gymnasium at Valhalla, Pretoria.  One morning, on parade, the corporal asked Russell (in Afrikaans) what instrument he had used to shave himself with, that morning.  Russell replied "'n Sker, Korporaal".  A "sker" is, of course, a pair of scissors, so the corporal, & the rest of Russell's flight, had a good laugh.  "Jy moet daardie stomp sker weggooi, roof" was the corporal's retort.  In April, Russell was transferred to the Central Flying School at Dunottar & I to the Air Navigation School at Ysterplaat, Cape Town.  Russell was awarded his pilot's wings in December & I qualified as an air navigator.

Russell graduated with a B. Econ. degree from the University of Natal, Durban, & was one of the first South Africans to hold an M.B.A. degree, which was conferred upon him in the U.S.A. 

In 1964 the Tungay family started the Dragon Peaks Caravan Park, which later achieved Club Caravelle status & today is a thriving resort on the road to Champagne Castle.  The Drakensberg Boys' Choir School was situated on the same property.

Russell was active in the SAAF Citizen Force, eventually reaching the rank of colonel.  He was a pilot for decades & established a landing strip at Dragon Peaks.

"Russ", as he was later called, & his wife, Lynn, ran the caravan park & resort, while "Ma" Tungay busied herself with dairy farming.  Russ & Lynn had three boys (it must have run in the family !).  Their oldest, Brett, is now 31 & is a helicopter pilot .  Glenn is 30 & is a housemaster at the Choir School.  Scott is 20 & has completed two years at a rugby academy.   He is currently studying for a B.A. degree & intends becoming a teacher.

Although I visited Russell & Lynn on one or two occasions at Dragon Peaks, I was not in close contact, so it was a great shock to me when Russell died of cancer on 27 February 2007.

The Tungay family, & Russell in particular, played a significant role in my younger days & I was enriched by our friendship.  I would like to pay tribute to Ron & Gwen Tungay, John, Peter & Russell, & to Russell's widow, Lynn, for being a wonderful family & for making the world a better place.












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