Charles Dearlove, aged 74, died, a victim of Covid-19, caught while recovering from a throat operation.
This bald statement says so little about the man, and there is so much to say.
Ask anyone who knew Charles, and the first word to come to mind would be – gentleman. That he really was.
When he met his wife in England, he would not even let her travel on the underground alone. That was Charles.
But he was more. He was loyal. He worked for the same bank his entire career, achieving some elevated positions, working in South Africa, in England and in Botswana. But more.
You could depend on Charles. If a job needed to be done, Charles would see it through.
When I was confined to quarters in the early part of the pandemic and Rotary offered to do my shopping, it was always Charles who stood up and got it done.
Charles was fired with a desire to do good, which is why he was such an outstanding Rotarian. Whatever task was put to the club, Charles would raise his hand.
His quiet determination to get things done had us concerned throughout the pandemic, but he would not be put off. He was careful, systematic, and thorough and during this period the dreaded Covid-19 never touched him.
Charles was not just a worker – he was an intelligent contributor, sitting at times on the boards of the Helderberg Society for the Aged, the Hottentots Holland Hospital here in Somerset West, the United Church Finance Committee, and even a fellow and previous council member of the Botswana Institute of Bankers.
He was a staunch member of Probus, and was of course a Past President of our club, the Rotary Club of Somerset West, and its incumbent Treasurer.
There is so much more that can be said. This sophisticated man with an enormous heart, learned Zulu before he could speak English.
In his youth (he was schooled at Hilton) he was an accomplished cricketer and hockey player, and later in his Botswana years, excelled in tennis and golf.
Above all, Charles was ever consistent. You could rely on Charles. He was throughout a true Rotarian and a friend, and will be sorely missed by his very brave wife, Penelope, and daughter Charlotte, and all who had the privilege of knowing him. Rest in peace, friend.
Bryan Butler is a member of the Rotary Club of Somerset West.