The news of the passing of Richard Dolley came as a shock to so many of us. Even realizing that Richard struggled with his health over the last few weeks none of us expected that the call from up yonder would come for Richard, a husband, father, brother, uncle, family member, friend to many and one of us in the South African hockey community. Some of us that has walked through the proverbial minefield of South African sport with Richard will always vouch for his dedication and his believe in the principles of non-racial sport, as espoused by SACOS. Richard, although reluctant as times, understood that sport had to move along with the politics of the time. This never allowed him to be less critical of matters, when wrongs, were committed, and insisted that redress had to happen. Richard was not complicated as so many wanted to believe, he always had the interest of sport at heart.  

Further, he was never found wanting to be a mere spectator from the sidelines. He rolled up his sleeves and got involved. Always seeking to be part of a solution or solutions. For this we respected him even more. He served hockey with distinction at levels ranging from schools, club, provincial and national in capacities that included coaching and selection panels. I was reminded that when he coached the S A u/21 men’s hockey team to Zimbabwe and the mode of transport was a local kombi taxi. Unfortunately, the taxi ran out of fuel some distance from the pitch. The driver wanted the team management to pay for the trip so that he could go to a service station to buy fuel, return and the trip could continue. Richard instructed the team to push the kombi to the service station. What is never mentioned in this story is that Richard, the Coach, and Wendell Domingo, the Manager, remained in the taxi whilst it was pushed. That was the day hockey stopped being a team sport.

 Richard had an outstanding playing career in hockey, cricket and football. I must confess that the football part I did not know previously. I am glad the football part did not last an exceedingly long time after his tertiary days because hockey and cricket would not have enjoyed so much of his time and dedication. His performance records are preserved to bear testimony of his talents. His passion for sport was the very grit of the of the Dolley family DNA. It is borne out by his offspring.

Richard was politically astute and tried his hand at a local level. The political, social and civil issues he stood for in those early years were way beyond those of his political partners. One of his favorite comments to me when trying to understand the local politics was, particularly in the provision of services for the people, I told them these things many years ago. Richard has left an indelible imprint on the lives of many people. The respect he has gained throughout his sporting career as well as in his career as a teacher and leader of the profession knew no bounds.

The one uncompleted task Richard has set himself to achieve, was his ambition to record and publish the history of non-establishment hockey from the beginning up to the unity processes in South African Sport. We could never find the finances for this project. I hope that somebody will soon take on this project and see it to completion.

Richard, today we salute your memory and trust that your legacy will live for a long time. My life has been enriched by knowing you. Your commitment and service to life has been a beacon of honesty and trust. Our condolences are with Bernie, Corbyn and Brad, his siblings Gerald, Sandra, Rodney, Trevor and Gary. Be assured, Richard has paid his dues and leaves us with no debt, for he has done more than many wished they could. GOD Bless.

Charles K  Smith