Saturday, July 28, 2007

In Memoriam: Jonathan Alfred Rolfe: 3 August 1950 – 1 July 2007

- Judy Maguire –

Many Prince Alberters have been left with a stunned feeling of disbelief and unreality at the untimely death of Jonathan Rolfe. Prince Albert is just not the same any more without him. He was one of the town’s most well-known and best-loved characters – one of a kind, unique. It was impossible to drive through the village and not see Jonathan on the Museum veranda, usually in tee-shirt, jeans and sandals, cigarette between his fingers, smiling and twinkling at you from behind his glasses.

His kindness, open-hearted generosity and helpfulness were legendary, and his friendliness attracted people of all ages and from all walks of life. He was known by everyone and so did he know everyone, and was quick to offer an interesting “take’ on everything that was going on in town. He was a ‘front of house’ person par excellence and his absence from the Fransie Pienaar Museum will be particularly keenly felt – it is strangely empty now without his cheery presence, and even seems dark. He will continue to be sorely missed.

Jonathan was born in Cape Town and went to school at CBC in Seapoint. After matriculating, he first worked for a bank before transferring to the Stellenbosch Farmers’ Winery, where he worked for many years. After that, he worked for Gilbey’s – also for many years - before retiring to Prince Albert. A little-known fact about Jonathan was that he had green fingers and enjoyed growing roses and orchids in his pre-Prince Albert days. Despite his friendliness, he could be a very private person.

Jonathan loved Prince Albert and his home – always open to everyone – at ‘The Views’. He enjoyed having his family, friends and animals about him and was one of those rare beings – relaxed, happy and contented. His front – and back – stoeps were the friendliest most welcoming places in town, and friends often gathered there to chat.

He was inordinately proud of his wife, Joy, his daughter Trish, and his niece Zara, and nothing was too much trouble to ensure their well-being. Our hearts go out to them at this sad and lonely time. We townsfolk can console ourselves with the memory of the warm and human presence that his friendship, generosity and kindness brought into our lives. It was an enriching experience to have known this very special person.

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