Durban – Former Westville Boys’ High School maths teacher Terry Nevin died on Sunday, a day before his 88th birthday.
In a tribute post on Facebook, the school said most old boys would remember Nevin fondly.
“He had a 46-year history with the school in the classroom and on the sports field. He started teaching in 1968 and retired in 1999 but stayed on for 15 years after this to teach core and later just advanced maths,” said the school.
The school thanked those who shared tributes in celebration of Nevin’s life.
Friend and former colleague Jennie Bircher said Nevin was “a legend” who would be remembered by many old boys and staff as a maths teacher, a mentor and a friend.
“For some of the pupils in Terry’s classes it was sometimes ‘survival of the fittest’ because they learnt very quickly to develop their own learning methods. However, many old boys will remember his maths lessons fondly as they were inspired by this brilliant man who encouraged them to think and problem solve … more than the maths … they will remember the man who made a difference in their lives,” she said.
“Most of all we will remember Terry for his brilliant mind, his generous and loving nature and his kindness to us all.”
Paul Lichkus said: “Terry was a cryptic clue master, a demanding bridge partner, a marvellous mathematician, a tall and elegant gentleman; he was our ‘Mr Chips’. I will always remember him in his pink ‘Game’ shirt, peppered with tiny holes where the hot ash from his pipe had settled over the many years,” he said.
Janine Jollands said she met Nevin when she started teaching at the school 30 years ago.
“Terry was a larger-than-life personality and his wit and intellect had no bounds. Terry was a generous, kind, thoughtful, memorable and eccentric man whose huge heart and gentle soul defined him. I will remember our long conversations over tea and cake and the care he took in my life. Rest in peace Terry, an honour to have known you,” she said.
Lyndy Coombe described Nevin’s mind as quick and his wit even quicker.
She said his brilliance would always be remembered.
“After his retirement, he would still come in to teach the occasional Ad Maths class, and his arrival was always hailed by the click of his walking stick. He would wander past my office and after an all-encompassing bear hug, would often proceed to pull out a clever and humorous newspaper cartoon to be shared with all. There always seemed to be a naughty twinkle in his eyes.
“Old boys to this day ask after Terry and recall fondly his maths classes, which were challenging and inspiring. Terry, your wry smile, engaging personality and warm hugs will be missed,” Coombe said.