George Turck, 98, of Hout Bay passed away peacefully at Kronendal Retirement Village midday on Friday June 30. He was approaching his 99th birthday.
Mr Turck was born in September 1918 in Cape Town to the late George Turck and the late Johanna Turck (nee Du Toit).
A former SACS high school pupil, he grew up on the slopes and cliffs of Table Mountain and was an expert climber. He was always in love with the Peninsula mountains.
He went to war against Hitler, serving in the artillery forces with the South African Third Brigade in North Africa, and then with the British Army in Italy.
After the war, while he was still engaged in Italy, he climbed a trio of Italian mountains; the Matterhorn, Monte Rosa, and Mont Blanc – on the Matterhorn climb he met Sir Edmund Hillary training for Everest.
On returning from the war, he was accepted as a student at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) for a B.Sc. in soil conservation, a specialist course set up for returning combatants.
He graduated from Wits in 1948 with a first-class pass. Days later he married Mary Phillips, who survives. He and Mary had been married for almost 69 years.
The same year, he was sent to Rhodesia to work with soil and water conservation programmes. He lived in Rhodesia until 1963, spent a brief time in Swaziland, and returned to South Africa in 1965.
He was well known in Hout Bay. Many locals and tourists enjoyed the beautiful beaded flowers that he would sell at various craft markets, including the Sunday Hout Bay Market organised by the Lions Club.
George is survived by his wife, Mary, and their three children, Pippa, Fred and Margie, seven grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren. Mary will continue to live at Kronendal Retirement Village.
His family and close friends will be holding a small, private memorial for him today, Friday, July 14.