Ronald Sydney Hollis MBE

13th August 1926 – 6th August 2017

A memorial service was held for Ron on 22nd September in St. Mary’s, Chessington.

The same church in Chessington where he was married to Audrey in 1958, where his children were baptised and confirmed and where his wife’s funeral was held. Ron
and his wife loved the church and it was a big part of their lives. Ron served on the The
Parochial Church Council for thirty years, including as vice-chairman.

He was also the Church Representative to the Deanery Synod, Church Warden three
times, Intercessor, sidesman and stewardship recorder. At times he was the pianist for
services and even the odd time sitting in as the organist. Augmented church choir member,
Trustee for the old Parish Hall and Pastoral Assistant. Clearly he made a huge
contribution to the life of the Church and the people of the Parish.

Although Ron lived the last 6 years of his life in Stratford upon Avon it was more fitting for the service and funeral to held in Chessington.

Ron also worked in the broader community giving his time to help others, the SSAFA( the Armed Forces charity) being another good cause. Here he helped other veterans and their families who had fallen on hard times. After 40 years of service to this cause, Ron was recognised with the award of an MBE. He continued to work for SSAFA for many years after that until he was well into his eighties. About 50 years in total.

Ron was said by his family to have an amazing ability to take things in his stride, to find the strength to rise to life’s challenges. Indeed ‘a rock in the midst of a crisis.’

Ron was born and raised in London in the twenties and thirties, when the country was suffering the effects of the Great Depression and was still recovering from the effects of the First World War, in which his father had fought. Ron spent many of his teenage years surviving the Blitz. Ron joined the Royal Air Force in 1944, volunteering when he was 18, taking an RAF short course at the University of St. Andrews. He was commissioned into the Meteorological Branch, serving overseas in Singapore and reaching the rank of Flight Lieutenant. He also gained some experience of flying; particularly he fondly remembered flying the old Tiger Moth though, as he used to say, ‘never quite got the hang of landing it’.

He also briefly flew a Dakota when the pilot needed to use the facilities and asked Ron to take over the controls. All ended well despite a drop of 1000 ft whilst he was at the controls.

In 1948 Ron returned to the University of St. Andrews and completed a degree in Mathematics and Natural Philosophy. After the war he spent two years as a civilian with the Air Ministry Meteorological Office with forecasting duties but found his professional vocation, as a mathematics teacher.

And it was during one of his first postings, at Morden Farm County Secondary School, that he also found Audrey, to whom he would be married for nearly 48 years.

In 1958 Ron moved to the School and remained until 1985, it was at Wandsworth School where he spent the majority of his years teaching, many of them alongside Audrey. Among other achievements he rose to be Head of King House and indeed annually he would invite his house prefects to tea at his home. At the school he also had the opportunity to pursue another of his passions, singing with the Wandsworth School Choir for many years under the directorship of Russell Burgess. This link remained to Ron’s memorial service where Glyn Harvey, former teaching colleague and Music Director at Wandsworth School, played the organ which Ron would have loved.

Ron will be remembered as an English gentleman with jacket and tie, always a jacket and tie. His family remember him mowing the lawn on a Saturday afternoon wearing a shirt and tie, although there are unconfirmed reports that he would take the tie off when he was in the back garden. Afterwards he would shower, slap on the Brylcreem (always an RAF man!), relax and dress down for a Saturday evening – no tie, just a cravat.

Son of Sydney and Annie, blitz survivor, airman, weatherman, fun-loving student, colleague, teacher and mentor to so many people; chorister, charity worker and dedicated member of the church community.

English gentleman with jacket and, on special occasions, university tie right to the end. A
loving and devoted husband, father, father-in-law and granddad, godfather, uncle and cousin, and a friend remembered with great affection and respect. Many of us from the school will remember his wonderful patience and even handedness.

We will miss him.

Alan Bone

Comments are closed.