Tribute to an Aberdeen Icon

Well-known Aberdeen resident Constance Vos, known to all as Connie, passed away on Sunday 27 January, exactly five months short of her 85th birthday.

Connie grew up in Oudtshoorn, as one of ten children. She completed a secretarial course at the local college after leaving school, and one of her more interesting jobs, before coming to Aberdeen, was with the SABC in Sea Point, Cape Town.

In 1965, Connie, her husband Jack, and sons Johann and Jacques moved to Aberdeen, seeking the dry climate of the Karoo for the boys’ health. Jack took over from the local attorney, and the estate agency, for which Connie was to become so well known, was part of the practice. The couple worked together as a team, and although Jack was the one with a degree and formal qualifications, Connie was a very precise businesswoman who, according to her friend Gina de Beer, knew as much about the law as her husband!

About seven years after their move to Aberdeen, their daughter Constance was born.

Connie continued with the estate agency after her husband retired at the age of 75. She kept on selling houses until the age of 80, and many people in Aberdeen today are in the town because Connie persuaded them to buy a house, in what was always described as “the best part of town”!

Her daughter Constance recalls that Connie also bought the local pharmacy, which was called Die Medisynekas, and had that for a few years. It was run as a pharmacy, but no prescription medicine was sold. This was in the early 1990s. Jack passed away in 2001, at the age of 85, and Connie continued with her business interests and social activities, active until the end.

Connie and Jack had three children, and two granddaughters, Chantal and Adele, both of whom are married. Her great grandson (Adele’s child) is four months old, and just two days before Connie died, Chantal found out that she is pregnant. Sadly she never had a chance to tell Connie about this.

Connie loved to read and do crossword puzzles, and even played bridge in her younger days. She was an avid traveller and went on a few overseas trips, including the final voyage of the Astor with a group of friends.  She also loved train trips and went on a Blue Train tour once as well as the Afrikaans story teller and TV personality Tolla’s train.

For a number of years, every Christmas has been spent in Cape Town on an extended holiday with Constance and Eugene, who would willingly come to Aberdeen to fetch her, and bring her home after a month or so.

Connie lived life to the full and was very passionate about her work and family.  She was always very loyal, dedicated and professional. She was a unique human being, in every way. She had a good sense of humour and loved to laugh – indeed her distinctive laugh is one of things that her friends and family will remember.

Although she was generally healthy, she had a history of heart problems, and had suffered a stroke many years ago.

Connie died of a heart attack on Sunday 27 January, shortly after her return from what was to be her last Cape Town trip. “We are very fortunate that there has been no suffering, and that she was able to keep her independence for so long” said Constance. “She never wanted to go to an old age home or retirement village or even moved closer to us here in Cape Town. She wanted to stay in her house for as long she lived, and she did.”

A memorial service was held on Thursday 31 January, attended by friends and family. Unfortunately her son Jacques, who works in Dubai, was unable to be present, but he sent a tribute, which was read to the mourners by Johann.

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