It is with great sadness that I inform you of the passing of Norman McFarland yesterday afternoon. “Legend” is a horribly overused word, but Norman was a truly great schoolmaster who had a profound and lasting influence, not only on the young men that he taught but also on so many of his colleagues.
Norman and his beloved wife Myrtle came to South Africa from Northern Ireland in 1967, and he began his teaching career at King Edward VII School (KES). He coached the First rugby XV (The Reds) for twenty years, during a golden era in KES rugby. He was also the senior housemaster at Buxton House. Upon leaving King Edwards, Norman taught and coached at Pretoria Boys High, St John’s College, Bryanston and Parktown and was headmaster at Glenvista High School for a brief period. He returned to St John’s in the 1990s and spent sixteen very happy years here, teaching History and coaching rugby.
"“Legend” is a horribly overused word, but Norman was a truly great schoolmaster who had a profound and lasting influence, not only on the young men that he taught but also on so many of his colleagues."
Post-retirement, he continued to coach rugby at both King Edward VII and St John’s College, with his great friend and protégé, Adrian Norris. He was on the sidelines on Saturday, watching his U16A side slip to a narrow defeat against Jeppe. As always, the referee came in for considerable stick.
Norman lost Myrtle about 18 months ago, and he was devastated, but he remained full of energy, coaching and reading voraciously. He would have been 80 on 20 April this year.
The St John’s Community salutes a great man, and our thoughts are with Norman’s children, Stephen and Janet and his grandchildren.