Tribute to vibrant spirit, generous benefactor

COMMUNITY PILLARS: Malcolm and Carol Christie in earlier days.
Picture: SUPPLIED

Carole’s huge contribution to our town remembered by many

by HEATHER HOWARD

Carole Christie’s successful and happy life was celebrated by her family and many friends at the Presbyterian Church last Friday (January 13), following her peaceful death at home in Settlers Park on January 5.

Carole was born into wartime poverty in the north of England. After the war, her family emigrated first to South Africa and then to Zambia where Carole married Malcolm in 1962.
He was a draughtsman for the mines until they came south to the Kowie in 1972 to join Christie senior’s building firm. In the ensuing 50 years here, they each proceeded to make their mark on the community, business, civic and social life of their chosen hometown.

We remember Carole as a proud wife, the mother of two and grandmother of six; as a homemaker and scrapbooker of note; and an enthusiastic world traveller with Malcolm, sometimes basing their travels on international cricket and rugby tours, and always enjoying wildlife.

Carole’s business career spanned many decades, with her craft shop in Main Street, then as manager of Foschini ’s, which led to her very popular Vogue Modelling School with its fashion and variety shows; and then after many years of working in real estate with Malcolm, she became a star realtor, eventually with her own business. She really found her niche in this career.

Her personality, wide knowledge and full-scale after-care of clients resulted in many sales, referrals and friendships.

In the Kowie’s civil life, Malcolm and Carole served as mayor and mayoress from 1988 to 1990 during major events in Port Alfred – the new Main Street and bridge, the new marina, and the municipality’s centenary, and their names appear on a number of commemorative plaques in town.

The Christies were also, over the years, quiet and generous benefactors to many local causes. Apart from her business and professional life, she was a Round Table
wife dating from our local club’s formation in 1972, and later, with Malcolm, a Rotarian in her own right, where she became a Paul Harris Fellow, one of Rotary’s highest honours.
This was for her hugely successful Rotary Variety Shows in the early 2000s.

These music, comedy and dancing shows in the Civic Centre drew full houses and made tens of thousands of rands for Rotary projects. But more than just the fundraising,
she drew young people and indeed all ages onto the stage for her Rotary and earlier Vogue shows, some of them appearing for the first time, so there’s a huge cast of performers who remember these experiences with great fondness.

They will also remember Carole’s very firm direction. She stood no nonsense then or at any time in her life, and was always straightforward and strong.

Carole’s was also a generous life of giving to the community, to her many friends, and to her beloved family, especially to Malcolm with whom she shared a rare rock-solid marriage of togetherness for over 58 years.

Malcolm died in February 2021, after which Carole’s health deteriorated slowly. She was looked after with great devotion by her Grahamstown family Candice and Warren, with the help of Hospice and her team of carers.

Someone who knew her only in her last illness described Carole as “quiet and sweet” – this was not the Carole her family and friends knew and loved.

The Carole they will treasure is the vibrant and sassy one, full of verve and energy, tackling anything in her path with efficiency and confidence. And, as her many and varied friends
will testify, being with Carole was fun.

Who can forget that irresistible laugh which made her presence felt in any company? There was always laughter when Carole was around.

We think with great sympathy of Carole’s two daughters Shelley, in Greece, and Candice and their families as they have to come to terms with the loss of such a vibrant spirit; so indeed will everyone who knew her.