In Memory

David Brosnihan

David Brosnihan was an amiable, energetic and even ebullient classmate, and these characteristics remained prominent throughout his life.  He was one of the most enthusiastic supporters of our Class of 1961 reunions and other activities. 

Although he did not participate in the Dramatic Society at school, David became for a while a proficient and popular actor in many stage dramas in Durban, including some that were presented at the Durban City Hall.  Here he is in Shakespeare's play As You Like it:

David studied for his Market Research Diploma in a summer school progam at St Edmund Hall, Oxford University.  Returning to Durban, he entered a career in the import and export of fabrics and other textiles, working at first for a foreign firm.  Eventually he established his own agency and continued international trading in textiles, even continuing some of this work part time in his retirement.

David married Eleanor Baker in 1971 and they had three sons.

For our 50 year reunion in 2011, David initially volunteered the use of his vehicle to help with any transport needs, but under his influence this proposal developed into a large-scale, flawless operation that transported our revelers between our hotel and the school, and even provided some airport pick ups and drop offs.  Here is David at that reunion,  with Neil Lambert:

David was present again at a Durban luncheon to celebrate our 55th year since matric,  enjoying the repast with characteristic gusto:

David delighted in our Moroccan Gathering in 2018, which he frequently recalled as "the trip of a lifetime". He campaigned relentlessly for us to include hot air balloon flights in the activities in Marrakech -- and in due course he and most of our group did indeed float in balloons above the high desert at the foot of the Atlas Mountains!

Here is David, at left, with some of our group at a reception in a private Moroccan home:

And here we find him taking a rare moment of relaxation on the beach of the lovely Moroccan port of Essaouira:

From 2019 David suffered several serious health issues.  Major abdominal surgery was followed by a long and painful recovery, but a new problem required insertion of a device into his heart to prevent blood clotting.  David regained sufficient health to attend his last Class of 1961 function, a gathering in the KZN midlands in early 2020.  He is in the front of the photo with Nick Gray:

Unforunately David experienced increasingly severe and painful complications of advanced diabetes.  But David Brosnihan was a man of eager appetites, and, perhaps anticipating that the end was near, he eschewed the advice of his doctors, and instead ate, drank, smoked, and was merry.  He was hospitalized briefly in late May, and then passed away on 31 May 2021.  He had lived his life on his own terms.

David is survived by his wife of 50 years, Eleanor, his three sons Warren, Tim, and Michael, and their families.



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06/06/21 11:54 PM #1    

Michael Cornelissen (Class Of 1960)

Oh, I am saddened to hear of David's passing away.

He and his family lived only one block away from me on Waverton Road, in between Ridge and Essenwood Roads. Though he was a year younger we became close friends, exploring the surrounds on our bicycles and playing backyard cricket,

I always enjoyed his energy, sense of humour and adventure.

RIP David - you were a positive influence on the world you lived in.

07/06/21 11:07 AM #2    

Dave Guy

Very sad. I got to know Dave in about 1964. We met in Pietermaritzburg. He was a rep for the United Tobacco Company, I think it was. Went to a few interesting parties with him. A very pleasant fellow. Never saw him again after leaving PMB.

07/06/21 12:09 PM #3    

David Douglas

Thank you Ian, for a very well written “in Memory” to our good friend David Brosnihan.

I first met David way back in 1955 at Morningside Primary, where we played in the same soccer and cricket teams. Along with Colin Grey and Alan Young we moved on to DHS three years later.

Throughout those school years David and I remained good friends, but as so often happens, we went our separate ways once we matriculated. It was only in 2011, at the wonderful 50th reunion in Florida Road, that we renewed contact.

Even though David must have suffered a great deal in his failing health, he was always remarkably cheerful and positive when we spoke over the phone. Although it must have been a real struggle for him, there was no way he was missing the KZN Midlands get together in Hilton in December last year. He said afterwards how much he’d enjoyed the occasion, with thanks to Nick Gray for making that possible.

David was a really special guy and he will be greatly missed.        

My condolences to Eleanor and the Brosnihan family. 

Dave Douglas

08/06/21 02:00 PM #4    

Denis Moffatt

I remember Dave as a really likable, no issues type person....and saddened by the loss. Previous comments realy say it all, but whenever we lose a schoolfriend, even all these years later, I am reminded that we have known many first class people in our lives as a result of a common bond, and some of us even better than we did at school. 

Condolences to his family. A good man gone.

Denny Moffatt


08/06/21 07:18 PM #5    

Nicholas Gray

Dave and I were very good friends in our early days at DHS and I have fond memories of us shooting his (fathers?)  .22 BSA rifle in their garden in Waverton Road. I'm sure we only shot at targets and not the local monkey population!!  Over the latter years I bumped into him in business now and again as we had common customers. We also met at the races a couple of times when Dave organised tables at Royal Durban GC for the (in)famous Durban July. More recently we had a great curry lunch with several of the '61 Classmates at the Britannia Hotel, a trip to Howick for lunch with the Midlands gang  and lunch with Dave and Dave Sawers at my local fishing club. My last conversation with Dave about 2 months ago was to plan a repeat which, sadly, never happened.
Perhaps a lesson to be learned is "do now while you still can" .


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