Old Cambrian Society

  OC Society
  OC Alumni
  OC News
  Events Diary
  Register Here
  Impala Project
  Where are they?
  Contact us

   Obituary - Derek Arthur


Derek Maximilian Arthur

House: Nicholson
Years: Jan 1955 - Dec 1958

Webmaster received an e-mail from Richard O'Molony:

Dear Steve,

Derek Arthur - Nicholson 1955 - 1958. Died aged 62, on 17 December 2004, after fighting cancer for most of that year.

Follows my ode to a real friend.

Derek and I went to London together in January 1959 having been recruited while at the Prinso, by ICT UK - later to become ICL. We served our 5 years of trainee/college time with them, then we both left their employ to seek other paths. I joined the RAF as a pilot and Derek joined Rank Xerox as a field engineer.

Derek emigrated to South Africa in 1966. After various business ventures, "The Captain" as he became affectionately known, acquired a small business in 1983 that required him to move from Johannesburg to Durban. Under his guidance this business prospered. In 1999 with the merger of several other media companies, "Outdoor Network" was formed and with Derek at the helm as Chairman, became the third largest outdoor advertising company in South Africa by the time of his death.

With his success Derek was able to pursue his true interests in life - sport, travel, gambling and socialising. All of which he did with unrestrained enthusiasm and panache.

Watching and playing sport was a consuming interest. Initially he played waterpolo and rugby, then tennis and golf. The latter, with dedication and commitment. "The Captain" derived his name from being the club captain of the Royal Durban Golf Club for many years. Derek had played on most of the great golf courses around the world in his travels.

He was an avid follower of his local rugby team, the Natal Sharks and the national Sprinbok side, often following the Boks to Twickenham, Dunedin, etc. Derek loved to watch cricket and tennis too. Even in his last days, when he was able, he would watch sport.

Derek travelled extensively and built up a wonderful network of friends, all over the world and earned their love and respect. 'The Captain' was a party animal of note and - in full flight wondrous to behold, performing anything from a 'flaming A' to full strip & can can. Derek, throwing all his toys out of the cot, in full tantrum at the black jack table, deserved an Oscar. No one was immune to his practical jokes - frequently involving food and drink - laced with tabasco and other unmentionable substances. On any possible excuse, Derek would throw a party, or have a dozen lost souls spend half the night around his bar at home. He loved socialising and loved his friends.

Derek's wife, Friedi, was a perfect partner and soul mate. She participated in every aspect of his life with enthusiasm, patience, understanding and support. His was a frenetic lifestyle, but his most treasured moments of calm and peace, were his quiet times, with Friedi at their stunningly beautiful home overlooking Durban, over a favourite meal and a bit of TV or video. Equally a stolen weekend, at their lodge in a private game reserve in Northern Zululand, or their seaside home at the mouth of the Bushman's River mouth, in the Eastern Cape.

Besides Friedi, Derek leaves behind four children: Warren from his first marriage, Wayne and Hayley from his second marriage (their mother died tragically, when they were very young) and a step-daughter Lindsay, from Friedi.

Derek and I were close friends from Prinso days, until his death. Through the early wenching, pubbing, student days of London, through the years, separated by continents with periodic visits, the reunion in South Africa in Jan 1972, when I emigrated there with my family, until the end. I was privileged to spend a week at Derek's bedside in the last month of his life to bid my bigger than life friend, a last farewell. His dignity and strength of character were tangible and had a profound effect on me. His last words to me were - "Thanks for coming, I will keep a frosty (cold beer) on ice for you up there"

Richard O'Molony (Hawke 1958)
January 2005