After a short sickbed, our beloved “Father Jack” died peacefully on the 9th of February 2012 at 11:45 at the Queenstown Private Hospital. Born in Queenstown on the 18th of October 1919 as the son of an Australian father and a South African mother, Father Jack had a happy childhood.
As a boy he went to the Sacred Heart Primary School which was run by the Dominican Sisters and in the mean time he served as an altar boy for Monsignor Vogel, the first Superior of the Pallottine Missionary territory in the Eastern Cape.
After his Primary School career, he followed the local tradition by getting his Secondary School education at the famous Queens College, the pride of his home town, where, according to his own words, he managed to make his matric but not without quite a lot of sweating.
After matric, young Cedric entered public life by working as a junior clerk for a government department, called in his time “Bantu Affairs”. This lasted not long, because Worldwar II broke out and he had to join the military which brought him to various places in Egypt and Italy where he also witnessed the senseless destruction of Monte Cassino.
Back home he started to realise that his real future would be a God consecrated one. So he made his application to join the Pallottines and was sent by the Superiors to the Noviciate in Jessups, near to Washington D.C. in the United States, where, on the 8th of September 1948, he made his first consecration. Sent to Rome for his theological formation, he followed the courses at the Propaganda College, and, on the 29th of June 1952, Cardinal Luigi Traglia elevated him to the priesthood.
Back in South Africa, he started as an assistant priest in Butterworth and later on in Dutywa.
Bishop Rosenthal appointed him consequently as Priest-in-Charge first in Willowvale and then in Stutterheim, and finally, Father Jack became the Administrator of the Cathedral of Christ the King in Queenstown from 1978 to 1996. Looking back upon those times, with his typical sense of humor, he stated that in Willowvale and Stutterheim he was “overworked and underpaid” while at the Cathedral he was “underworked and overpaid”…
After Father Brammen left South Africa for Germany in 1981, Bishop Rosner appointed Father Jack as the Vicar General of the Diocese, a position he kept for more than 20 years.
“Wiry” as he was, he enjoyed an iron physical condition, but slowly his memory became tricky and his forgetfulness legendary. As a senior of respectable age, he retired at Queenstown’s Pallotti Farm which is the see of the South African Pallottine delegature. Still for years he kept himself busy and fit by making long walks with the dogs. During his last years he was plagued with an additional increasing deafness which pushed him slowly into an isolation which he handled with patience and a sufficient dose of humor.
During the last half year of his life, his whole condition deteriorated quickly and we had no other choice as to put him in specialized hands for frail care. In spite of all the efforts done at Madeira Home, he collapsed after a short time and was transferred to the private hospital, where, after a 2 days long agony, he finally glided softly away into eternity.
Father Jack will be remembered as a joyful and very active priest who was motivated by an exceptional love and kindness towards people. When he had the opportunity to help somebody in dire need, then nothing was asked him to much.
His Christian conviction, mixed with his disarming character, spiced up with a Franciscan joy and simplicity and a good dose of self admitted naivety made him an icon in the Queenstown region.
A little bit in his mentality we can say: “Father Jack, you did it, you made it and you are it: God’s Priest! Congratulations and enjoy your Eternal Rest in heavenly Peace!!!”