GRAAFF-REINET NEWS — The Graaff-Reinet and Nieu-Bethesda communities are rocked by the news of the sudden passing of Greig Rose-Innes this past Sunday.
Born in 1966 in Graaff-Reinet, Greig was a pillar of strength in this community, and tragically leaves his parents Jerry and Sheila, wife Lynette, daughters Kelly and Lauren, siblings Sally and Andrew, and countless friends who loved him dearly.
Greig’s early life was spent on the family farm, Leeufontein, outside Nieu-Bethesda.
A typical Karoo farm boy, he learned much about farming from his dad Jerry - and remained a hard-working, dedicated and tenacious farmer and throughout his life. From his mother, Sheila, Greig certainly gleaned the twinkle in his eye and love for those around him, as well as his incredible sense of service.
The Rose-Innes family formed an integral part of the Nieu-Bethesda Tennis Club, where he spent many happy Saturdays as a child, playing tennis and making lifelong friends. Greig went on to become Chairman of this club, where alongside Lyn, he helped transform the it into the convivial family-based hub of the village that it continues to be.
After school, Greig completed his National Service before studying Agriculture at Stellenbosch and the University of Natal. Returning to the farm, he met and married Lynnette Garret and became an exceptional dad to their two daughters, Kelly and Lauren.
While Greig was a giant of a man in the physical sense, he had the softest heart and loved Lyn and his girls dearly. He guided his girls with wisdom, humour and frankness - and his legacy will live through them.
After 44 years on Leeufontein he moved to Rheeboksberg outside Graaff-Reinet where he continued to farm with passionate intensity on the land that he loved. It was not unusual, on visiting the farm, to see Greig striding down the mountainside with a large sheep slung over his shoulders.
While Greig’s sheer size and presence made him difficult to ignore, it was his delightfully loud laugh and unbridled commentary on life, usually (as Lyn says,) without much of a filter, that truly filled the space around him!
Schooled at Union, Greig was fondly known as ‘Jobey’ by his school mates. Brilliant on the sporting field, he particularly enjoyed tennis and cricket which he played to first team level. In adulthood, he continued to play league tennis on a regular basis and initiated the ‘father-sons’ cricket day at Union. It was extremely important for Greig to see families working and playing together, having fun - and staying together.
Not having a son, Greig would always find a boy without a dad present on the day, to play cricket with at this occasion. His had terms of endearments for some youngsters, and never failed to let them know of his fondness for them with a sideways hug, a hair ruffle and a warm, loud greeting. It filled Greig with great delight to watch his daughters Kelly and Lauren blossom on the court and hockey field, and his voice could not be missed as he encouraged them from the sideline - often to the delight of the crowds.
Greig was not shy to, (in the words of his Dad), “Call a spade a shovel”! Some say that Greig had the courage to verbalise what many were thinking. The day before he passed away, Kelly was awarded with her 50th first team cap on the Union Astro. With a quintessential beam, his smile stretched from ear to ear, Greig was the proudest Dad that day.
Passionate about Union, Greig and Lyn worked tirelessly at maintaining the fine name of this school. Currently National Chairman of the Old Unionite’s Association, Greig continuously held his alma mater front of mind.
Whether serving behind the bar at The Union, braaiing steaks for hundreds or sharing a beer with friends on the balcony overlooking the fields where he had grown up, this was one of his happy places. He had recently revived the ‘100 Club’ in a bid to continue raising funds for the school, and was due to be an integral part of the Centenary Celebrations in 2019.
In recent years, Greig has gone through life-threatening health issues that he overcame without self-pity or negativity. He dealt with the loss of hearing in one ear, and subsequently the loss of sight in one eye with humour and absolute courage and tenacity. With Lyn and his girls constantly by his side, they made it through all this hardship as a testament to true love and devotion. Lyn completed Greig and brought out the very best in him. It is a cruel blow, that given all they have been through, that this special family have lost Greig so soon.
Family and friends meant the world to Greig. He loved to be surrounded by camaraderie and banter, and he and Lyn would not hesitate to invite friends to the farm given any excuse. His pool of friends stretched from childhood to today and crossed all social boundaries and his dedication and loyalty was far-reaching and solid. So many hearts have been broken at the loss of this man.
As an entity, Greig and Lyn formed a unit that it is difficult to comprehend the world without. Greig leaves a mighty legacy. A steadfast husband, son, father, friend and brother, Greig’s uniqueness leaves a massive hole in this community. We will miss his laugh, his forthrightness, the simple ‘Greigness’ of the man. There was nothing subtle about Greig - what you saw is what you got. This is a rare and wonderful thing.
A memorial service will be held at the Union High School Hall on Monday, 13 August at 14:00, with a celebration of his life thereafter at ‘The Union’.
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