Academic journal article Akroterion

In Memoriam: Sheelagh Fitzpatrick De Vries: (03.02.1922-26.10.2014)

Academic journal article Akroterion

In Memoriam: Sheelagh Fitzpatrick De Vries: (03.02.1922-26.10.2014)

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

All those privileged to have had Sheelagh as Latin or Classical Culture lecturer can confirm that she was the best teacher and the kindest person they had ever met. After a lifetime of service to others, Sheelagh passed away on 26 October 2014, aged 94.

Sheelagh Fitzpatrick was born on 3 February 1922 and grew up in Cradock, Eastern Cape, where she attended a convent school. She was only 16 when she passed her matriculation examination, taking first place in the then Cape Province. For the following twelve years, she worked in various positions, from executive assistant to graphic artist and assistant teacher, even serving a year in post-war Holland and England as volunteer for a Catholic charity.

By 1950, aged 28, Sheelagh undertook a new challenge, registering at Stellenbosch for a BA in English and Latin, and then achieving a Higher Education Diploma. She wanted to know more about Afrikaner culture, which was often disparaged in her English-speaking milieu. Needless to say, all her aims were successfully achieved, culminating in marriage to an Afrikaans speaker, Jan de Vries, in 1957. Thereafter she devoted herself to raising their three children, returning to the University only intermittently.

In every position she filled, Sheelagh earned the respect of all colleagues with her meticulous attention to detail. …

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