Former mayor’s life well-lived

In memoriam: Malcolm Nelson Christie

HEATHER HOWARD

On February 17, Malcolm Christie, 80, died peacefully at his home in Settlers Park after a long and valiant battle with Parkinson’s disease.

Born in East London and attending Selborne Primary, he went to Mufulira on the Copper Belt with his family, where he excelled at school sports.  Later he was to run marathons, and become a 5-handicap golfer, and latterly he enjoyed social tennis and mashie golf at Kleinemonde.

He started his career as a draughtsman, marrying Carole in 1962. Their two daughters Shelley and Candice were born before they moved south to Port Alfred in 1972. Here Malcolm joined his father’s building firm
and started a building programme of houses and complexes all over town, including the 1981 Christie’s Building opposite the Duck Pond, Settlers Mews in town and the Seaforth flats opposite Little Beach.

The family moved around Port Alfred a number of times as they built and sold their houses, and finally 20 years ago Malcolm and Carole moved to their new waterside home in Kleinemonde. By this time, they were in real estate where Carole was a leading light and Malcolm a property developer and consultant.

They had fun as Round Tablers in the 70s where Malcolm served as chairman, and later as Rotarians which he led as president. They were also inveterate travellers, and visited many countries all over the world, including trips to Australia to visit friends made when Candice spent a year there as a Rotary Exchange Student, and to visit their daughter Shelley and her family, living in Greece.

Malcolm served on the school board for many years, and on the Chamber of Commerce; then he was elected a town councillor and became Port Alfred mayor from 1988 to 1990, leading the council through a period of important decisions for our town.

During his tenure in office, the town celebrated its centenary as a municipality in 1989 and the Christies were honoured guests at many celebrations. Either Malcolm as mayor or Carole as mayoress officially opened constructions like the new bridge at the end of Main Street, the Royal Alfred Marina harbour
and the Port Alfred Country Club.

It was a busy fulfilling life, in the midst of his extending family, surrounded by friends, accepting the challenges of business and community life and contributing to them all.  Then, in 2008 came the ominous diagnosis that Malcolm had Parkinson’s disease.  Since then, those around him have watched his brave stand against the debilitation it gradually brings, admiring his battle to live as normal a life as possible.

Malcolm will be respected for his courage, and for his years of service to the community. And he will be remembered by his friends for his great company and wonderful dry wit, and by his family as a loving and proud husband, father and grandfather to his wife of 58 years Carole, his daughters and their husbands and his six grandchildren.

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