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News > Passing of friends > Keith William Mowbray Cole Bisset 20 February 1935 – 10 February 2018

Keith William Mowbray Cole Bisset 20 February 1935 – 10 February 2018

Keith died at home in Paarl surrounded by his family on 10 February 2018. Less than three months after being diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Keith was born on 20 February 1935 and grew up in Kenilworth. He was at school at Western Province Prep School and was later sent to Queens College Queenstown as a border which cured his asthma but must initially have been a traumatic experience. Fortunately, the Dower family were very kind to him there.
At Bishops, he did well in the mile and tennis. He was a very talented artist and highly thought of by Mr Sam Butler. He had hoped to study art at UCT and was accepted by Professor van Essche at Michaelis School of Art. Instead, he became a junior commercial artist in the Advertising Department at the Old Mutual’s head office and could so easily have spent the rest of his life there.

When Robin Marx (1953 suggested that they go to London, he readily agreed. He initially worked as a shirt salesman at Selfridges before moving to Lewis Stores in Manchester in the same capacity.
During his 5 years in England, he travelled extensively on a 250cc motorcycle and side-car with Francis Gace. When they were riding on the Corniche near Monaco, the side-car and motorbike parted company as they were going down a steep hill. Miraculously they survived unscathed and enjoyed recalling this lucky escape.
While they were in Italy, they pitched their tent in the dark. The next morning, they discovered that they were in a graveyard!

In England, they stayed at London House where they made many new friends. Keith then became a retail advertising assistant with Erwin Wasey Ruthraff & Ryan in an office in Brook House in Park Lane where he inherited Lord Mountbatten’s telephone which he did not care for and replaced with a new one.
In England, he met Wynne McNally from New Zealand who followed him to Canada where Keith was with the Simpson Sears Advertising Agency. Keith and Wynne returned to Cape Town and married in 1962 and remained together for 16 years.

Keith was Advertising Manager with Pickles until he joined Kenyon Advertising. At the age of 34 he was appointed Managing Director of Barker Mc Cormac’s Cape Town office. He later became Chairman of the company.

At some stage, he and the family moved to Durban where he established the company office there. Keith and Wynne had a son, Michael and daughter, Amanda and despite the heavy demands of his job, he was a loving father to them both. There were many happy fishing holidays at Arniston.

34 years ago, he met and later married Marlene Cogill. They were the most devoted couple, each magnificently supporting the other when faced with life-threatening illnesses. Keith was a wonderful step-father to Simone, whose devotion and loving care during his illness was beyond all praise. He followed the remarkable academic and sporting achievements of Cole, Daniella and Nathan with great interest and pride.

In retirement, Keith derived great pleasure from golf and the new friends he made. He loved gardening and started drawing again. He was enchanted by the beauty and variety of our trees.

Keith’s passing leaves an enormous void in our lives but we must be thankful that what was often an agonizing ordeal, has ended.
Mac Bisset (1960G)


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