A Tribute to Selby Logan
By Tom Brown
Tue, 17 Feb 2015
In Memory of Selby Logan ( 1934 – 2007 )
Pretoria, August 2007 (Originally)
Thank-you for the privilege to speak on behalf of the Brown family.
To most of us Selby Logan was fondly known for his characteristic handle bars moustache, tall but on the skinny side, and always his pipe and tobacco. He was outgoing, friendly, kind, he loved animals, was always enthusiastic, and had a great sense of humour.
In 1988 Selby moved in and lived with us and as part of our household. Soon he was accepted as family and even as step-dad. At the time my mother Anna was completing her MBL degree, he was very supportive there were also some very difficult days.
This was in the time of the Border war my brother Jacques was in the army then he was a Mag-gunner (a machine-gun operator). After which he went to Gonubie where he worked as a bricklayer and had many other adventures until he came back and settled again at home.
I myself was recovering of very serious injuries from a terrific car crash, this then in 1988 and I then commenced studies from scratch, first year at Unisa, a world leading SA correspondence university.
We depended on him for things like transport and errands for my mother he was always willing to help he never complained.
Those early days are good memories. In evenings we listened to the English Radio service there were some very good programs and much variety. We went for walks, he was very fond of tea, almost connoisseur, and I joined them in some social events. I studied and worked on mathematics problems almost every single evening and until very late in the night, usually sleeping late in the morning.
Coming into our family Selby definitely didn’t realise what he’d let himself in for.
For my mother Selby was a wonderful companion he was always willing to help, inconveniences were endured without complaint. They had very many outings and holidays together. They would often go bird watching, regularly at the farm or while camping at nature reserves.
Jacques found good company especially in them watching sport on TV. Notably rugby and cricket. Selby was on the edge of his seat pipe in hand completely absorbed and carried away right through the game.
For myself I would say he was a good example, an inspiration and great encouragement. At times he and Oom Pierre (my grandma’s then friend) were the only ones who did not give up on me as far as studies go, and work, and life. From these men I learnt one should never give up on another person’s behalf. You have no right to, and if you do you do damage to that person and honestly it is much too easy to simply dismiss and write someone else off.
We learnt from Selby about many things, from nature and animals, to classical music and jazz, politics history and religion. He was knowledgeable on almost any subject and in my opinion a master of the art of conversation. The man had an uncanny memory and great presence of mind. For example if you misplaced something, anything, a pencil perhaps or a cigarette lighter you could just ask him and he’d tell you exactly where it was, other people’s things, anything. Quite incredible.
You couldn’t take him anywhere and there’d be someone he knows, twenty years ago, forty, donkey’s years, and usually the big-shot around. It’s true. He must have known just about half of Pretoria.
Friends and relations
Selby had been married before, he had sons Mark and Garth and he also had daughters, Laureen, Yolanda and Karien.
His (older) brother Collin lived in Christiana, and his best friend was a German artisan his name was Erhard, he moved to remote KZN. He would usually go visit these people when my mother was overseas.
I haven’t met all of his daughters nor his brother, other than that I know all these people and many others.
Selby carried no bitterness or resentments to any family members or ex-wives nor his own parents. He was very fond of all his children and spoke only in praise. Mark in particular he was very proud of Mark is a chartered accountant they have emigrated long ago.
An incurable optimist
Selby Logan drove a hard bargain. Even so, always fair, he was everywhere respected for honesty and integrity. He was a child during the depression years and WW2 and could tell you many stories. On a farm in the far North-West, not far from Kalahari desert, they grew up tough as nails.
Probably his most remarkable virtue was incredible, seemingly infinite patience and tolerance.
A monument to his patience is the large oval mirror hanging in our living room. This very valuable mirror had fallen the beautiful wooden frame broke into many pieces. However somehow the glass was completely intact. He repaired that mirror every single piece it took him years, you can’t see where the frame was broken you cannot even see the joints.
Truly he lived by the principles “Live and let Live” and “Let Go and let God”.
Selby was a teetotaller and at the time of his passing he had more than twenty-five years of sobriety. He firmly believed there was no such thing as “coincidence” and that every single thing that happens does so for a reason.
He died of lung cancer, mercifully after only a brief suffering.
Also I wish to pay tribute to my own late father who would have been 63 last Sunday. Although the two men were very different in character I believe my father would not have wanted for my mother to be alone, and neither do we.
“A pessimist is a man who sees the sun set in the East!”
– Selby Logan