95 years filled with service to his community

Dr Alan Pittendrigh (sitting in front in the middle) recently celebrated his 95th birthday with friends and family at his home in Vereeniging.

VEREENIGING. – On Saturday February 10 Dr Alan Pittendrigh celebrated what he calls his “100 minus 5” year’s birthday with a group of family members and close friends at his home in Unitas Park.

Dr Pittendrigh was born in  the small mining town Rooiberg (Tin Mine) in Gauteng,  where his father was a very professional policeman and an excellent horseman, rifle and revolver shot. His father and mother inculcated in him a deep sense of honesty, integrity and dedication to his work, which in the long run took him from training as an apprentice electrician through the highest peaks in technical education to unsolicited consultancies for industry, several states and research in the Department of Manpower and the Human Science Research Council.

Dr Pittendrigh had periods of employment as an instructor electrician in technical high schools, then known as “Ambagskole”, lecturer, senior lecturer, head of Engineering to Deputy Director of his alma mater, the Cape Technikon, and Director of the ML Sultan Technikon and Technikon Natal (now combined as the Durban University of Technology).

He retired by choice at the age of 60 as he had then built the first buildings on the brand new campus of Technikon Natal.

He was a keen sportsman and played rugby as scrum-half, mainly for his home club Hamiltons; he also took part in cricket, hockey, tennis and badminton. During this period he had studied and obtained four major qualifications in technology and three university degrees. In his retirement he produced his doctoral thesis on Advanced Technical Education in the RSA, earning a doctoral degree.

Dr Pittendrigh was married to Eddy Croe-ser until her death in 2008. “We had 58 wonderful years together,” says Dr Pittendrigh, who describes himself as “a family man”.

For a period he was a keen camper and made extensive tours to Namibia, Zimbabwe and Botswana which gave ample scope for his photographic hobby.

When he retired he moved to Vereeniging as his one son was a dentist here and his daughter and younger son were employed in Johannesburg. Soon after this move he became involved in the formation of a branch of the Association of Retired Persons and Pensioners, became a founder member of the Vaal Seniors Club, the Vaal Elderly Forum, and the SA Confederation of Seniors Organizations.

All of this he gave up after Eddy died as he felt he had paid his dues to society for the good life he had enjoyed. He now enjoys writing his memoirs, so far only read by his editor and grandchildren.

* Dr Pittendrigh is also engaged in freelance language editing for Ster and Vaalweekblad, and as external evaluator assists MooiVaal Media in maintaining high journalistic standards.

Ster and Vaalweekblad’s heartfelt congratulations to Dr Pittendrigh on his 95th year of making a positive difference in his community.


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