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Obituaries

Recent deaths and obituaries are posted here.

Ray Paull (KES 1945-1955) (Former Head of Biology at KES)

Ray left school in 1955 and completed his degree in Botany at Southampton University, graduating in 1959. He then returned to KES to take up a teaching post in the Biology Department becoming Head of Department 12 years later. Upon his retirement in 1994, he had spent a combined total of 45 years in the school. Sport played a huge role in Ray’s life. He was a talented hockey player, playing for the 1st team at school and university and for the OE Sunday side and a keen cricketer and golfer, becoming Captain of Stoneham Golf Club in 1991. Ray also loved Jazz music and was an enthusiastic gardener. In 2010 he suffered a severe stroke which left him struggling to communicate but, along with his wife, Pam, he remained active. Ray lived in Southampton his entire life and passed away peacefully at home on October 14th. He will be deeply missed by Pam and his children Susan and John and so many of the wider KES community.

Francis Godfrey Woolf (KES 1938-1946)

During his time at KES, Godfrey (as he was known) was Head Boy from 1945-1946. Upon leaving school, graduating from Southampton University in 1950 and following his Military Service in the Air Force, Godfrey taught physics at Portsmouth, Maidenhead and Chester City Grammar Schools. He became Head of the Middle School and then Deputy Head of the High School finding the pastoral side of his role the most rewarding. Once retired from teaching Godfrey worked for the Methodist Church in Ruislip. His life-long connection with Methodism started with the family’s membership of St. James’ Road Methodist Church in Southampton where he met Doreen, his wife of 67 years. Godfrey enjoyed researching his family tree and, along with his sister, wrote a short history of a forebearer entitled “‘Dear Franky’ The Life and Times of Francis Woolf (1740-1807)”. Godfrey and Doreen retired to Hayling Island where they remained active and he was a regular attendee at KES reunions. He leaves his wife, Doreen, two children, Christopher and Alison, his grandchildren and a great-grandson, Beau.

John Robert Reginald Simms (KES 1946-1952)

John joined the school in 1946 from Wells Cathedral College where he was a chorister. He completed his National Service in the Army and was sent to Egypt in charge of the NAAFI. He also learnt to drive a 3-tonne truck. Later, according to his friends, he continued to drive in a similar fashion even as a civilian driver. John qualified as a music teacher and taught for many years at Glen Eyre School in Southampton. He became a Freemason in the Woolston OE Lodge where he played the organ and was also an active member of PROBUS.

Frances Eleanor Mason (Former teacher of History at KES)

Frances passed away peacefully in October after a long battle with illness. She and her husband, Roy (also a former teacher at KES) were affectionately known as ‘Minnie and Micky’ during their time at the school. She will be sadly missed by her family and friends and the many students she helped over the course of her teaching career.

Colin Churchill Dibben (KES 1945-1951)

Colin passed away in April aged 85. He was one of many from his family to attend KES including his father, Stanley, brother, Kenneth, and later his daughter, Claire. Colin joined the family firm William Dibben and Sons in 1951, a well-known builders’ merchants established by his great grandfather in Southampton in 1874. He worked in various roles over the years, progressing to the Personnel Manager. In 1955, as part of his National Service, Colin served in Cyprus as an Army Physical Training Instructor during the Cyprus Emergency. He enjoyed keeping physically active, playing rugby at school and later for Trojan’s. Colin worked hard and was a family man with an optimistic, friendly and kind personality. He will be dearly missed by his wife, Mary, daughter, Claire and son-in-law, Golam.

Professor Justin Adrian Ivan Champion (KES 1973-1980)

Justin was born in Gloucester but his family moved to Southampton when he was a child and Justin subsequently attended KES. He proceeded to Churchill College, Cambridge, where he completed undergraduate and research degrees. After Cambridge, he took up a lecturing post in Early Modern History at La Sainte Union before he moved to Royal Holloway, University of London where he remained for the rest of his career. As Head of the Department for History from 2005 to 2010 he established the MA in Public History, the first to run in the United Kingdom. He also led the College’s Magna Carta 2015 activity, and played a key role in Royal Holloway winning substantial Leverhulme funding to establish its Magna Carta Doctoral School. He was as an outstanding historian, an exceptional communicator, and an effective teacher who will be much missed by his family and friends. Justin was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2014 and died in June 2020, at the Princess Alice Hospice in Esher, aged 59.

Joe House (KES 1939-1945)

Joe House was one of seven siblings and died in the same house in Shirley in which he was born. In 1939 he was evacuated from KES to Poole Grammar School and after a period as a sergeant in the Royal Army Education Corps, he became a PE and religious instruction teacher in London, before moving back to Southampton in the 70s to care for his father. A former teacher at Glen Eyre/Cantell School, he led London school boys in the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics in 1948, kayaked down the River Wye in the UK and the Rivers Moselle and Rhine in Germany, sailed to the Isle of Wight on a dinghy his brother had built and went mountaineering in Scotland, Wales and the Lake District. He also travelled extensively in Europe, Russia and the USA and had a keen interest in photography. Joe was a lifelong bachelor, a keen church goer and dedicated member of the City Life Church congregation. He was a much-loved brother, uncle and friend and died aged 91.