26 December 1939 – 19 May 2006
Tom Price was a very special kind of person. Well-known as the Headmaster of Mondeor High School for more than twenty-five years, well-known for a lifetime of service to South African rowing and particularly to school rowing, he was far more than this. He was a man of huge compassion for children who found themselves in difficulty. Often “adopting” children and looking after them in his own home and at his own expense, until such time as they could be returned to their parents or placed by Social Welfare, children of all races and all the colours of our rainbow nation. Under his direction Mondeor High School became a model school for the new South Africa, where boys and girls of all races and from all backgrounds learned to work and play and row together!
He was the National President of the South African Schools Rowing Union for more than 25 years and often manager of the South African Rowing Team that participated in the Junior World Rowing Championships. He did much to enhance and develop the Alan Francis rowing course at Roodeplaat Dam, putting in hundreds of hours at weekends and during school holidays.
After the death of his beloved Sheilagh in 1994, he travelled the world with Tony Dobson and a small group of friends. Often including the Junior World Rowing Championships in Belgium, Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Lithuania, Greece and Spain, but also visiting Zimbabwe, Kariba, Egypt, Holland, France, the Carribbean, Mexico and the United States. He was a man of inexhaustible energy who lived life to the full.
Perhaps the experience that for me most sums up the character of the man occurred on a visit to Vilnius in Lithuania. Lithuania is a Catholic country that was hugely devastated by its years under communist rule – and there was a great deal of poverty in the country. In a gesture that was typical of the man, he stopped to chat to an old lady in the street who was trying to make a living selling rosary beads. Of course, it goes without saying that Tom Price ended up buying a set of beads (for more than the usual tourist price!).
He is survived by his daughter Janet and his son Tom, and by his three lovely grand-daughters whom he loved intensely (spending hours dragging me around shops all over the world while he searched for presents for them!) We extend to them the sincerest condolences of the whole South African rowing community!