In Memoriam: George Hounsell 1944 – 1950

George passed away on 21st May 2010. The Memorial Service was held at St. David’s Priory, Swansea on 3rd June. This Eulogy was given by his friend and colleague of over fifty years, Iorwerth Mort (Year of ’38).

May I firstly express our most sincere sympathy to Maureen, Helen and Anne and to all the family in their sad loss. This for them, of necessity, is a very sad day but it is also a sad day for all of us who had the privilege of sharing part of our lives in George’s company It will not have gone unnoticed that I have dispensed with my black tie and I proudly wear the Old Dy’vorian tie. I’m sure that I would have George’s approval for doing so because I’m certain that George would not have us grieve unduly, he would want us to use this simple service to celebrate his life and to give thanks for all his achievements in life and for all he meant to each of us.

To give thanks for a much loved and devoted husband of Maureen for over 50 years, for an adored and cherished Dad of Helen and Anne, for all he was as Gramps to his three grandsons, as a brother of Frank, as a fellow member of staff, as a friend. Truly all our lives were enriched by our contact with one of nature’s true gentlemen. 

In the church service John Walters paid a moving tribute to George from a pupil’s perspective, describing George as one of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s favourite teachers, and how George gave Gareth Bevan, the Editor of the new Welsh Dictionary produced recently by the University of Wales, a love of words and their meaning.

It is now truly my honour to say a few words of tribute to George as a colleague and someone I had the privilege of calling a friend.

There is an old Welsh saying which reminds us – that if you want to really know a person and to appreciate his worth then work with him. If you accept that then I am in a unique position. I joined the staff in 1955 and George joined us in 1957. We worked together on the same staff until I retired in 1984; that is for 27 years. Besides this, in 1957 George became Secretary of the Old Dy’vorians Association and I became its Treasurer and we worked closely together till 1997; a period of 40 years.

In the eyes of many George and I looked unlikely friends. The erudite George with his interest in languages and I with a scientific background — but in truth there were many things which pulled us together besides our association with the Old Dy’vorians.

Firstly our mutual love of rugby football – we both ran a school team every Saturday morning and we spent many hours together supporting Wales in all weathers at the old Arms Park.

Then there was our love of solving Crosswords. Our interest in Crosswords was nurtured in the Staffroom. George and I joined the panel of teachers on the staff who attempted to complete the Times Crossword daily. We were the first in school in the morning and very occasionally last to leave if our work was not completed. After retirement George and I turned to the easier Sunday Times Prize Crossword. George won the top prize a fountain pen on 2 occasions. But George had 3 grandsons and over the past year or so George and I conspired to try to win a 3rd pen. Unfortunately we did not succeed but it did give me an excuse if I needed one to ring up George every week to check our solutions, usually to fill any blanks in my solution. I mention this because I think that it illustrates what type of person George was. He didn’t want to make more of one of his grandsons than he did of the other two. George always tried to do the right and proper thing. He had a keen sense of fairness, he was reliable and fair at all times.

Time will not allow me to recall many other things, but I’m sure that George will be remembered and revered with gratitude and respect by an enormous number of people. Today cannot take away from us the wonderful memories we have of him.

May I conclude by commending to the family and to all of us a short prayer which I came across recently.

Lord you gave us birth and now we face the mystery of Death. Help us to see thee in the whole of life-in its beginning and its ending. Help us to see thee in our pain as well as in our joy – in our doubts as well as in our believing so that we may find comfort in thy word and light in our darkness.      Amen

Pen Portrait

George was born and brought up in Norfolk Street, Mount Pleasant, Swansea. He became a Dynevor pupil in 1944 and, after graduating at Swansea University College and a period of National Service in the Educational Corp., in 1957 he joined the staff of his old school.

He taught Latin and French for 30 years at Dynevor and served as Deputy Headmaster for the final eight years.

In the same year that he began his Dynevor teaching career he became the Honorary Secretary of the Old Dy’vorians Association: to be joined, a year later, by Iorwerth Mort as Honorary Treasurer, who was destined to become his long-term friend and colleague. This team continued at the helm of the Association until 1997. The excellent foundations laid down by the Hounsell/Mort team served as the basis for the continued existence long after the school closed in 2002. Today the Association flourishes, thanks in no small measure, to their groundwork.

George’s other commitments before and in retirement included:-

  • Twenty years as Treasurer of the School Library Association in Wales.
  • Eight years as a Dynevor School governor.
  • Eight years in office administration for several local companies.
  • An active member of the Morriston Probus Group.
  • Five years as Secretary of the Metropole Investment Club before its disbandment.

The webmaster is grateful to Maureen, George’s wife, for this insight into George’s life and contribution.