Eulogy for ‘gentle giant’ Volkwyn

By Yolisa Tswanya Time of article published May 19, 2015

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Cape Town - Dozens of mourners packed the Our Lady of Christians Catholic Church in Lansdowne to say farewell to Michael Volkwyn who was buried on Monday.

Volkwyn was at the centre of an intense stand-off with police after shooting a police officer in the face outside his Athlone home last week. The police officer had responded to a complaint that one of Volkwyn’s 13 dogs had attacked one of his tenants.

Volkwyn had locked himself inside his house for 21 hours and, after a 16-hour siege, shot one of his dogs before turning the gun on himself.

At his funeral on Monday, a friend, Lenny Gentle, read his eulogy and described him as a gentle giant with a generous heart.

“Michael had a zest for life. His only solace was with his animals and when he saw them being threatened he went into fight and flight mode.”

Gentle said aside from his animals, Volkwyn had a love for chemistry, physics and making sound systems.

“In his pursuit for excellence he tried to perfect the best sound system and he built various speakers and many DJ’s begged to buy them. He made one for me that I treasured but it was stolen when we moved to Joburg.”

His niece, Liana Volkwyn, said she will remember her uncle for his big heart and the holidays they spent with him.

“We couldn’t understand the complexity in his brain, but we will remember him as uncle Michael with a big heart.”

She added that, although they never “understood her uncle’s brain”, he was the one that helped her with school maths.

“We loved seeing him in the December holidays. We always saw him as big, strong uncle Mike. We love you and now you can rest among the great geniuses who can understand your genius.”

Volkwyn’s sisters, brother, nieces and friends all gathered to pay their last respects before he was buried at the Maitland Cemetery.

Meanwhile, Cape of Good Hope SPCA chief executive Allan Perrins said 10 of the dogs that were taken from Volkwyn’s property were set to be put down if no one adopted them.

Perrins said he was issued with “an order of destruction” from “law enforcement” to put down all the dogs as they were “decreed a danger to society”. He said he heard from his staff that Volkwyn’s family had no interest in taking care of the dogs.

Perrins said he and a team would get together later on Tuesday to decide about the dogs. “We are putting the order on hold pending confirmation from the family that they do not want the dogs. I would hate to put the dogs down and someone wanted them, because once you inject the dog you can’t undo it.”

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Cape Argus

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