Sadly, Kingswood College wishes to announce the passing of teaching legend, Mr Tommy Hartzenberg who spent his entire working career of 40 years at the College. Tommy, well known as the beloved ‘Mr. Chips’ of Kingswood leaves his wife Kay, four children (Lynette, Judy, Neil, and Puffer), 10 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

Tommy’s association with the College started as Student Assistant in 1952 and the following year was offered a teaching post. In 1954 he married his wife Kay and thereafter they were seldom apart, tackling various roles at the College as a united force, always working in tandem to advance the Kingswood cause. This month they would have celebrated 64 years of marriage.

Some of the key roles that Tommy and Kay played at Kingswood include that of house parents to boys of Jagger House, he often commented that these were the most satisfying years of his career. The College then acquired City Lords grounds and the couple were presented with their next challenge – to form an Old Boys Club and so it was that the now well-known Wyvern was started. They ran the Wyvern Club for five years.

Tommy was secretary of the Old Kingswoodian Club for more than 20 years and was in contact with thousands of old Kingswoodians across the world. He built relationships and took a keen interest in Kingswood families. Tommy retired in 1992 but remained an active Kingswoodian until the end.

Our condolences to Kay, Neil, Lynette, Judy, Puffer, and their families. Kingswood mourns the passing of this great gentleman with you.

Tommy Hartzenberg

Tribute to Tommy Hartzenberg by Warrick Strachan, President Old Kingswoodian Club

How humbled I am today to stand before you this very special day on behalf of the College and theOld Kingswoodian Club to pay tribute to one of Kingswood’s most admired & loved personalities.

Council Chair: Mrs. Di Hornby
College Head:  Mr, Jon Trafford
Chairman of the Centenary Trust: Mr. Alistair Collier
Chairman of the Wyvern Union: Mr. James Connan

Over 40 generations of Kingswoodians mourn the passing of Tom and on their behalf, I extend our deepest sympathies to Kay, Lynette, Neil, Judy,  Puffer and their families.

The tributes in the Order of Service before you summarise Tommy’s long & multi-dimensional Kingswood career, share the memories, the admiration of many & provide an insight into the colourful character that Kingswood was blessed to have,  as part of its family for 66 years. Such is the admiration for Tom that tributes have flooded the Kingswood social media pages & personal tributes have poured in from around the world.

Each of us will have our special memories, some of which have been shared with me:

  • Tommy always whistled when walking around the campus to give ample warning to possible wrong do-ers, as he didn’t really want to catch them and possibly subject them or 2 or 4 of the best, as was customary then.
  • His gentle approach with his booming voice won him much adoration & respect. Carey Hobson maintains his deep voice and allowed pupils to bunk class and sit at the swimming pool whilst taking notes.
  • Jagger boys will remember his butchery behind Jagger. His stash of maturing biltong was very well secured dispelling any thoughts that the boys may have had of getting their hands on that salted treasure.

Speaking of salt, it’s a Hartzenberg family habit to even add salt to watermelon, as shared by Jeffrey Stephens.

Many of us who have spent some social time with Tom will recall his repeating his favourite jokes, each time embellished with more humorous detail.

Carey & Dee Hobson having visited Old Kingswoodians in NZ and  Australia share the admiration that many Old Kingswoodians have for Tom & Kay and the sadness conveyed on hearing of Tommy’s passing.

Kay was very special to Tom and I wish to share a personal experience earlier this year. I had, a few days earlier shared the proposal of the naming of the Jagger House assistant house persons flat in his honour. However, as expected Tom was most humbled and in his usual unassuming manner tried to deflect the whole notion.   A day or two later Tom, who was not well at the time, made a trip to my office and with a tear in his eye insisted that any acknowledgment that Kingswood was to give, it was to do so jointly, as to include Kay. For not only would he never have been able to do what he did, but he wished that acknowledgment be given to Kay too, for her huge contribution to many different aspects of life at Kingswood.  How right he was. Indeed Tom’s remarkable record of service and commitment to his adopted school would not have been possible without the love and support of Kay, who like Tom have an all most encyclopedic knowledge of Kingswood history and Kingswoodians.

With Kay at his side, the Hartzenberg’s have been true ambassadors for Kingswood, none more so than on their 1993 world tour. After Toms “earlyretirement at the end of 1992, the Kingswood Council acknowledged the Hartzenbergs immense contribution to Kingswood and to the Old Kingswoodian Club by sending them on a 3-month overseas trip.  But alas this was to be a true “Busman’s holiday” as it allowed them to meet Old Kingswoodians around the world. They spent the first 80 consecutive nights as personal guests of OKs in Hong Kong,  Singapore,  Australia, NZ,  Canada, the US and England.  In the words of Howard Kirkby, “They were carrying the Wyvern spirit to every continent”.  To finally have a holiday Tom & Kay spent 3 weeks on coach tours of the UK and Europe. After all that it was back to South Africa for some really well-deserved R & R at their retirement home in Port Alfred where they lived very happily before, more recently settling in Damant Lodge.

A special word of thanks for their unfailing support of the Old Kingswoodian Club in Port Alfred. Over the years I don’t think you have missed a function where Tom was always keen to muster the troops, to help with the braaing and of course never short of a story. Kay who’d happily write out the name tags for our guests just to make sure everyone knew who was who and to ensure that everyone felt welcome.

Last but certainly not least a special word of thanks to the Harztenberg’s children for sharing so much of your parents with Kingswood College. Kingswood is a better place and Kingswoodians are better people because of Tom & Kay’s deep commitment to Kingswood.  

Tom’s passing has left a gaping hole in the Kingswood community but our hearts are filled with love and adoration when remembering him.