Eulogy for Dave Sievwright by NSRI CEO Ian Wienburg
Firstly a few apologies:
Dave I am sorry that I did not get the spelling of your name right in the last 20 years.
Most of you knew him better than I and whilst I might sound a bit flippant, it is the only way that I have a chance of getting through this without embarrassing myself.
Dave played for his Provincial underwater hockey team while still at school, loved sailing on the Vaal dam and was a keen scout.
Then a move by his family, luckily for us, brought him to Durban. He became a Lifesaver and did his military training in the Navy.
Dave joined the NSRI in 1976 where he served as a Crewman, Cox’swain and Station Commander.
During this time he received Directors Thanks for his service. In 1982 he took on the task of Sea Rescue Liaison officer and forged a relationship with Round Table which was one of his many accomplishments. In 1989/90 they took NSRI as national project.
Through Ski-boating seminars Dave made contact with the Nomads who he persuaded to help establish Station 22 on the Vaal Dam.
He also had a guiding hand in establishing a base at Bronkhorstspruit Dam.
Dave was a great supporter of his fellow liaison officers around the country. And a public speaker of note; he spread the NSRI word at boat shows, schools, churches and many other groups. People were so touched by his words that he unwittingly became the father of our bequest program.
He wrote, illustrated, sourced funding for, and published the Inland Skippers Guides which is the ski-boaters bible – and he did all the updating of it.
Dave taught Skippers courses – so many – I am sure more than anyone else in South Africa.
And to me, the most fantastic thing of all was the fact that most of this was accomplished while suffering immense discomfort and pain without a moan or a grown. I really can’t remember speaking to Dave and hearing anything other than he was fine. How in heavens name did he manage that? It humbles me.
That, my friends, was a very short summary of Dave’s life with us.
What did I think about when I heard the sad news?
1) What a way to go. Only Dave could have planned that.
2) Thank God that it was quick and that he did not linger in hospital as they would never have known what to do with him when they found out that he had no blood but sea water in his veins, and no heart but a water pump. In fact, they most probably would have found the cause of death was a broken impeller.
3) And lastly, after 20 years in charge of running the NSRI, when I introduce myself to anyone from KZN, up north and many others around the country as the CEO, I wont have to hear, “ OH so you work for Dave in Durban then.”
Yup, I might be the CEO but Dave you were Mr NSRI.
Fair winds my friend and keep a crewing spot for me for when I join you.
On Tuesday, 4th January, 2011, the Memorial Service for the late NSRI Durban Regional Manager Dave Sievwright will be held at Frere Road Presbyterian Church, 339 Esther Roberts Road, Durban, at 11h00.
Dave passed away from a heart attack on boxing day playing golf at Shelly Beach while on holiday.
The scattering of Dave’s ashes will take place the same day from aboard NSRI Durban’s Rescue Craft Eikos Rescuer II.
Ian Wienburg, NSRI CEO, said “Dave has been with sea rescue for over 40 years and was the face of NSRI Durban. A nautical man through and through and highly respected by the Maritime community his passing will be long felt by the NSRI.
“Dave loved the sea and enjoyed every day being part of NSRI. Dave suffered a long term medical condition causing him lower back pain. He was always there for his colleagues and friends and always at the forefront of NSRI tirelessly raising funds for NSRI projects.
Eddie Noyons, NSRI Kwa-Zulu Natal Regional Director, said “Dave started his career as a lifeguard and soon joined NSRI as a crewman and then went on to being NSRI Durban deputy station commander and then serving as NSRI Durban station commander for quite some time before he took up the post of NSRI Durban Regional Manager promoting NSRI at every opportunity and was widely known as Mr. NSRI serving as Regional Manager for 27 years.
“Dave worked tirelessly raising funds for NSRI and organising events.
“Thousands of ski-boat skippers were qualified by Dave who ran skippers courses as a skippers instructor.
“He will be sadly missed by all who knew him.”
NSRI have expressed sincerest condolences to Dave’s wife Pam and their three children, two daughters, Paula and Judith, and son, Haydn.