It is with sadness that we learnt of the passing of iconic False Bay RFC member, Peter Johnson.
Peter was another of those members who was a part of the Bay for so long that determining when he joined is difficult. What is certainly clear is the tremendous impact he had on the Club during the '80s and '90s.
A member of the former Union RFC, Peter like many of his clubmates at the club joined False Bay. A tough, uncompromising lock, his appearance belied the caring and gentle person that he was. As a warrant-officer in the SA Navy, he was deeply involved in Navy rugby and many of his charges joined the Bay after completing their time at Simonstown, thanks to the influence of this gentle man.
Peter served on the Committee at the club, was Club Captain and coached a myriad teams, including the First XV. But it is his demeanor for which he will always be remembered. He had a genuine interest in those with whom he interacted. He never forgot a name, made effort to find out about the person and included, where relevant, the players family.
The writer on a number of occasions, while sitting alongside him during recent First XV matches at the club, witnessed former charges and players excitedly come up to him, partner in tow, to chat with the gently-spoken man and, more importantly, introduce his partner to Peter with the customary heartfelt compliment of the impact he had had on his rugby or time in the Navy.
Although Peter's time spent at the Club waned with the onset of his senior years and some health challenges, his impact on those at the club in the '80s and '90s was palpable and long-lasting. He was always ready to roll up the sleeves and do his bit, even as a player if a competitive team found themselves short on the day, despite already being into his forties.
Peter will be fondly remembered at False Bay for his commitment to the club and his compassion for its members.
"Peter coached the Seconds in the early 80's. What a great guy, absolute gentleman. Saw him recently, he asked to put him and the wife down on my tour to Rugby World Cup. He was the person who advised me to retire from rugby, after my thirteenth concussion - "Footy, you have your whole life ahead of you".
"I was happy to be a coaching partner with Peter on the early 2000's. Great Bay member, always willing to give a helping hand. RIP Peter"
"A mentor when I was playing and later as a manager. Always went out of his way to greet you with his gigantic gnarled-knuckled hand outstretched, and he looked you in the eye, "Ian how are you?" In that legendary genuine gentle baritone voice. Fiercely loyal, proud, stubborn, compassionate family man and Bay man"
"Great man, I loved his passion and drive for the game. He always had an interest in one's family and made sure he knew every player in his team well. RIP PETE"