South African Rugby and the business world bade a sad farewell to one of its iconic members with the passing of Durham “Butch” Watson-Smith recently.
Watson-Smith was an outstanding centre of his day, representing Western Province and, perhaps more famously leading False Bay RFC to their only Grand Challenge Championship in 1972.
A charismatic man with an incredible zest for life, Butch succeeded at whatever he did because of his commitment and drive. His dedication to False Bay was renowned, serving as Chairman for a number of years. His success in rugby administration was crowned with his appointment as Commercial Manager of the Springboks after a successful term with the Stormers as Team Manager.
His passion for his club kept False Bay amongst the top clubs in the Province. He was a member of the WPRFU Executive for over twenty years and his extremely successful business career saw him retire as Managing Director of PG Wood after 35 glorious years of commercial success.
Butch touched countless lives through so many different engagements in life. He enjoyed a successful role at Constantia Bowls Club, where his natural sporting talent shone through once he turned his attention to the sport. He was a respected racehorse owner, with his most recent success being as co-owner of this year’s Durban July runner up, Punta Arenas.
Butch was the quintessential gentleman, warm, intelligent and loyal to a fault. He encouraged people to succeed, his team around him enjoying his support, guidance and encouragement, while his discipline and work ethic was inspirational.
False Bay RFC President, Mr Louis de Waal has known Butch for more than fifty years, having met when the two were studying in London in 1961. “I saw him wearing False Bay socks at a practice of the London Springboks”, said de Waal. “I told him I would be joining the club upon my return to Cape Town and we shared long hours discussing rugby and the way it should be played”.
This was the start of a long and deep friendship for the two, one which impacted deeply on the Club’s history. “ Butch contributed greatly to False Bay RFC as player, committee member and worker”, said the Bay legend. “he was never shy to roll up his sleeves when rugby poles had to be planted or the field needed marking”.
Butch spent his final years in Sedgefield fighting a brave battle against Alzheimers Disease. He is remembered with warmth, respect and fondness by so many, a true measurement of his worth as a human being. He will be remembered forever for this in particular. He is survived by his dear wife Lynne.
There will be a wake held at the Constantia Bowls Club on Tuesday 21 July at 3pm.