The late Phillip Raath. Photo supplied.
Date: 19 May 2017 By: Isabel Venter
The Louis Trichardt community is mourning the loss of one of its loving and kind souls.
Phillip Raath (74) lost his battle with cancer on Saturday, 6 May, at the Tzaneen MediClinic. He was especially well-known with his colleagues at Bridge Motors in Louis Trichardt, where he worked for the past 36 years until the Friday before his death.
Phillip settled in Louis Trichardt in the early 1980s after he had qualified as a mechanic in Pretoria. Before joining Bridge Motors, he managed Hanglip Motors with Steve Krügel, buying and selling second-hand vehicles.
“I’ve never met a more loyal person in my life,” said Mr Johan Gilfillan of Bridge Motors this week. “Not only was he loyal to our family, but to the company and the brand as well.”
Johan still remembers the day that he asked Phillip to join the Bridge Motors team as workshop manager. “We were both standing guard at the old commando offices when we started talking and I offered him the job, and he accepted,” recalls Johan. When the time came to retire, Phillip joined Johan in the washbay department, which they teasingly referred to as the “old age home”.
Under his management, the Bridge Motors workshop was awarded, more than once, the trophy as Best Workshop in its division as well as the Best Workshop in South Africa.
Phillip was also the one who took the time every morning to feed the birds and put out food for the stray animals at the workshop. “He had a deep-rooted love for animals,” said Mr Rampie Gilfillan, dealer principal at Bridge Motors.
In his free time, Phillip was an avid supporter of the Blue Bulls rugby team. “The Bulls might have been his team, but Phillip loved the game and watched every match he could,” said his neighbours of many years, Hansie and Corrie Uys. They had enjoyed many a kuier during the rugby season. Phillip also supported the Louis Trichardt Rugby Club and rarely missed a local game.
Phillip was also a well-known member of the local Turbi Hills Shellhole of the MOTHs for the past 12 years.
“He was truly a loving, kind, gentle soul and a true gentleman,” said his wife of the past nine-and-a-half years, Daphne.
A memorial service was held for Phillip last Tuesday and his ashes will be laid to rest in the wall of remembrance at the Afrikaans Protestant Church here in Louis Trichardt.
Daphne, on behalf of the family, gave a special word of thanks to Dr Casper Venter for his support and medical advice over the past few years and especially during Phillip’s last few days. She also thanked the doctors and staff of the intensive care unit at the Tzaneen MediClinic, Rina Vermeulen, who supported her during Phillip’s hospital stay, and her employers Liz, Frank and Megan Terrink of SignWave in Louis Trichardt as well as all those who showed their support by either visiting or sending messages.
Phillip is survived by Daphne, his four children and their families - Charlene and her husband Rudolph, Celeste, Craig and his wife Sue and Chantel and her husband Gary, six grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Isabel joined the Zoutpansberger and Limpopo Mirror in 2009 as a reporter. She holds a BA Degree in Communication Sciences from the University of South Africa. Her beat is mainly crime and court reporting.