Monday, 6 January 2020

In Memoriam: Frayne Mathijs

The death of Frayne Furniss Mathijs, Rotarian and friend to everybody in the Rotary Club of Johannesburg New Dawn and many other Rotarians in South Africa and beyond just after New Year, has come as a huge shock.
     She was a humanitarian at heart and was always looking for ways to help others. She lived a life of giving and caring.
Frayne accepting honorary membership from President Judy Sligcher in July last year
     As reported by News24, Frayne died in a car accident on the R24 to Rustenburg, near the town of Magaliesburg. She was driving when the car was involved in a fatal accident with a heavy vehicle on Saturday, 4 January. She was airlifted by helicopter to the Milpark Hospital, where she died.
Frayne helping Joan Donet and Sam Deverneuil at the golf day
Frayne with Judy Symons and Debbie de Vries at Winex two years ago
     Frayne, born on 9 February 1939, joined New Dawn in October 2015 and last year became an Honorary Member, only the second person to be so honoured in the clubs' existence.
     She often said how much New Dawn and her involvement with many of our causes as well as the larger Rotary world, had meant to her.
Frayne and the gang at the Golf Day at the end of last year
     Even at the age of 80 she was prepared to drive all the way from Modderfontein where she lived, to attend Wednesday morning meetings. She also regularly ventured onto the road to attend evening functions, although lately she often called on fellow members, most often Paul Kasango, for a lift!
     Who could know that the Christmas dinner in December would be the last time we would see her. As usual she arrived early to help set up and left late to help clean up before spending the night with Carol and Nick Stier at their Parkview home.
Frayne was a regular at club activities, this time at the induction of the Interact club at the Johannesburg School of the Arts late last year
     She was passionate about anything to do with nursing, her profession in her professional years, as well as anything to do with education.
     She adopted the Humanitarian Distribution Centre in Bedfordview as a personal pet project and spent many hours there sorting through books for specific needs.
Frayne with school visitors to the Jozi Book Fair in Museum Africa in September last year 
    As Peta Thomas says in a WhatsApp message: she was incredible at finding a book for each person individually.
     Her other pet project was the annual Jozi Book Fair, held over the past few years at various locations such as the Wits Campus, Mary Fitzgerald Square and last year inside Museum Africa in Newtown.
     She religiously manned a New Dawn stall and helped visitors with information about Rotary, about New Dawn and often about how they could get books from the Humanitarian Centre.
     She was also a regular attendee at recent District Conferences.
Frayne, Peta Thomas and Debbie Smith helped fill bookshelves at the Johannesburg Children's Home in Observatory
     Every member of the club will have his or her own memories of Rotary interaction with Frayne. She went out of her way to get to know new members and to encourage them to get involved in various projects and to mentor them.
Frayne volunteered to help the registration team at the first ever Rotary Zone meeting in South Africa, held at Mist Hills in 2017 for Zone 20A
     She was active in club affairs as well as her involvement in humanitarian projects and served as club secretary during PDG Jankees Sligcher's first presidential term.
Frayne was honoured by then president Jankees Sligcher for her efforts on behalf of the club
Frayne in her apartment in Modderfontein after a leg injury
Frayne in action at one of the RFHD events, always willing to help and advise
With Amina Frense at the Golf Day last year
The young and the old ... Frayne helps Paul Kasango look after Josefien Sligcher while Mom Abi looks on
Judy Symons, Frayne and Debbie Smith at a recent meeting     
     We will each remember Frayne in our own way, but her passing is a big loss to the club. She was a constant reminder of how much good there can be in the world and how tireless the struggle against inequality and poverty has to be.
     Rest in Peace, dear friend.
     A Thought for Frayne: We shall never know all the good that a single smile can do. - Mother Teresa (1910 - 1997)

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