Mike Ross, T’72
Mike Ross (Tredgold 1967-1972) died in London on Friday 6 February 2015. He was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of leukaemia in December 2014 but despite intensive chemotherapy, he passed away within 2 months. Mike had a very distinguished career at Falcon, being a College prefect and (if I recall correctly) Captain of Hockey.
He attended Cape Town University, moving to London to qualify there as a CA with Peat Marwick Mitchell (now KPMG).
During the war in Rhodesia, Mike was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant from his National Service Officer Cadet Course. He then served with B Company, 2nd Battalion, The Rhodesian African Rifles (2 RAR) from May 1978 to June 1979 based in Ft Victoria (Masvingo).
During this time he was involved in extensive combat operations during which he commanded his men with considerable courage and determination. He was mature beyond his years which was reflected in his outstanding efforts to establish confidence with the residents of Buchwa Mine, where he and his platoon were detached for several months. He completely re-organised the defensive systems of the mine and town, a difficult task for one so young and junior as it involved coordinating numerous disparate agencies including the police, civic authorities and mine management. Unusually for one so young – and to his credit – he was recommended for the award of the MLM (Member of the Order of the Legion of Merit) for his work at Buchwa for ‘distinguished service to Rhodesia’; regrettably the prevailing political situation at the time of its award prevented Mike being awarded this prestigious medal. A man of considerable integrity, he was highly respected by his superiors and soldiers alike.
Subsequently Mike became a successful international investment banker with Baring Brothers and ultimately JP Morgan. He left JP Morgan to establish one of the leading high-end safari companies in Southern Africa, Mike Ross Africa Travel Ltd. Mike was an energetic, talented, charismatic and immensely likeable man who had a very wide circle of friends. He was also a generous benefactor to the College. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his widow Mandy, and their three children, Annabel, David and William. He will be greatly missed by many people.
Martin Bashall, Tredgold ’72
Mike was at the FOB dinner at Harrow in October, as ebullient as ever, without the slightest hint that his demise was imminent.
He was a year younger than me and in a different house at Falcon, so others knew him better than I, but I remember him as one of the outstanding men of his generation. In addition to his Falcon achievements listed by Martin I recall him being an A-team cricketer, sailing for Rhodesia in an international regatta, and playing golf to a very low handicap (a talent developed during school holidays as golf was not played at Falcon at the time). The recently published history of Falcon records that the 1972 1st XI hockey team, in which Mike was a star player, was unbeaten (won sixteen, drew one) both in Rhodesia and on tour in South Africa.
We overlapped at University but since then I had, until last year, had only minimal contact with him. However, via mutual friends I heard about his meteoric career in the competitive world of investment banking, in London, Hong Kong, and New York. This did not come as a surprise as he was imbued with intelligence, charm, and a very strong and focused work ethic. I was fortunate enough to reconnect with him last year and spend some time together. I was hugely impressed to discover that he had developed into a real polymath, with a vast range of interests, enthusiasms, and expertise. He was delightful company.
His passing aged only 60 is a real tragedy.
Paul Seftel, Oates’71
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