Plumtree School - Old Prunitians

Submitted by his good friend, Charlie Graham (Grey 1966 to 1971)

Stephen Robertson Hill McDougall (February 1952 to March 2000)

Born in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Blantyre, Malawi on 12th February 1952. Eldest son of Iain and Joy McDougall, elder brother of Gail and Rory. Steve or Dougall or Nork or Macpecker (Plumtree nicknames!!) spent his early years growing up in Malawi where his father was in the tobacco industry. 

In the latter part of his junior school career the family moved down to S. Rhodesia. Steve completed his junior education at Umvukwes School where he excelled in athletics and swimming. In 1966 Steve folks sent him off
to Plumtree. He was in Grey House with myself and numerous other reprobates like the Drysdales, the Kings, the Conollys, the Masons, the Browns, Nobby Nienaber and many many more top guys. Steve was not exactly an outstanding academic but he was in the upper part of 5B. He and I were very ,very close friends not only through school but our parents were friends during the war. Steve and I were in the B stream most of our lives until I moved up to the A stream where I shared the root with P C Connolly !! Latin was my game! Harold Westwood adored me !

Back to Steve and the legendary classes of 1970 and 1971 where Mike Bond, Rob Kelsall, Rodger Staunton, Dave MacFarland, Paul Youngman, Jumbo King and numerous other characters would terrorise teachers like Gabbo Gibson and Don Mudge. These boys were hard core and wild ! I never envied their poor old teachers. One guy who never took any of their shit was old Fanie Van Vuren our phys-ed teacher. He would just smack or slap Dougall or any of the lads who were even looking like they were going to be cocky ! This slapping was regular occurrence during touch rugby games because of course the lads could and would not resist giving old Fanie a good slap on his bare back whenever he played for one side or the other ! Fanie would say in his heavy Afrikaans accent "So that's the way you want to play is it Mr MacDougall". Dougall now knew the game was on and it wasn't long before he found himself with ball to hand and who would be bearing down on him with the most vicious grin on his face but old Fanie ! Dougall knew the slap of all slap was coming and when it arrived across his sweaty back Fanie would sneer "So that's the way you want to play, is it meneer howzit now old pal !" The rest of the lads would die laughing as Dougall writhed in pain carrying a wicked red welt on his back !

Steve did well at Plumtree. He was a school prefect. He was a very good athlete and an even better swimmer where he represented the school. He loved water polo and was very proud of his first team speedo to the extent that it was a legend with all the gals !
Leaving Plumtree in Dec 1971 he followed his father and embarked on a career in the tobacco industry. He worked in Malawi, Zimbabwe and spent seven years in Madagascar. He found tobacco was a good career for him and he excelled in the business. He was married for the first time in 1974. He and his first wife Sue had two lovely daughters Kerry and Taryn. Steve's first marriage didn't work out and he and Sue were divorced in 1985. He remarried - Sarah - in 1986 and they have been very happy together living in Malawi. Steve and Sarah have two lovely daughters Kirsty and Alex (who is my Godchild.) They are great. 

Steve left the dealer side of the tobacco industry in 1987 and he was appointed Group General Manager of the tobacco Auction Floors in Malawi in 1988. This was a huge job with mega responsibility and too much politics. Stress crept into his life and in 1996 Steve fell ill with a mild stroke and then was diagnosed with cancer of the bowel. He recovered from this first tough round through typical McDougall grit and determination . In 1998 Steve felt it would be wise to get away from the stressful life and all the politics and he joined a big tobacco merchant company, Standard Commercial. Steve served Stancom with great aplomb but unfortunately for him, and of course all of his family and friends, he fell ill again.  After the bravest of fights he was overwhelmed by another more vicious bout of cancer. Steve passed away here in Lilongwe on 26th March 2000. He
was so brave and gave us all so much courage. He leaves Sarah, Kirsty and Alex. Steve's mother Joy, his sister Gail and brother Rory and his family were able to attend Steve's service. It was a very sad occasion as Steve was a truly remarkable character who had the strongest love and zest for life, with so many friends from all walks of life. 

We all miss him very much. We are taking good care of Sarah and the girls who are doing fine and adjusting well to their new lives at boarding school in Pietermaritzburg in Natal, (Wycombe Collegiate).

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