Mike Reeler Obituary

Mr Michael Reeler, Rondebosch Boys’ High School’s Headmaster from 1977 to 1985, and President of the Old Boys’ Union, sadly died on Monday 14 June 2021.

His involvement with Rondebosch extended over 64 years as an excellent and much respected teacher, boarding house master, sports coach, Vice Principal, Headmaster and President of the Old Boys’ Union.

As an inspirational chemistry, physical science and mathematics teacher his classes had a warm and friendly atmosphere. Perfectly at ease with the boys and other members of staff, he was an ideal housemaster at Canigou and The Lilacs, and was also at different times the Head of Canigou, Mason House and The Lilacs. He is the only person in the history of Rondebosch to have been head of each of the three boarding houses.

He coached rugby, hockey and cricket including the First XI, was a cadet officer and took part in the school choir. After serving as Vice Principal elsewhere he returned to Rondebosch in 1969 as Vice Principal. His outstanding qualities were evident and in 1970 became the Headmaster of Settlers’ High School.

He was appointed as RBHS’s seventh headmaster in 1977 at the age of only 40. Having taught at Rondebosch he was well placed to understand the school’s qualities, values and challenges, and was steeped in its traditions. He ensured the preservation and strengthening of the best of these.

The High School saw many changes during his tenure. Extensions to the school buildings nearly doubled the size of the school and the Mears Centre was built. He realised that sports at Rondebosch must provide for boys of all skills, some of which were not catered for by the other established sports. Many boys were influenced by his enthusiastic and well balanced attitude to sport.

At the academic level, examination results improved dramatically and he encouraged the development of Art and introduced Graphic Art; as a result about a quarter of the boys in the school took some form of Art.

He and Mrs Reeler lived in Canigou where, in addition to his Headmaster duties, he was Superintendent of Boarding and Mrs Reeler was the Chief Matron through to 1982 after which they moved into the renovated Clarke House.

Regrettably with the onset of diabetes he felt compelled to step down from the Headmastership in 1985. He was elected a Vice President of the Old Boys’ Union and in 1995 he became only the fourth President of the Old Boys’ Union since its founding in 1909. As a much respected elder of Rondebosch his views and sound counsel were sought after, and he continued to support all facets of Rondebosch including academic, sporting and cultural events and Old Boys’ Union functions.

In recognition of the immense contribution he made to Rondebosch, the old War Memorial Library, now housing the Music Department, is named in his honour.

Altius et Latius.