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Remembering Hendrik du Plessis (1935-2021)

Updated: Apr 5

by Hans Ittmann

Sadly, we record the passing of another ORSSA past president.

Hendrik Isak David du Plessis, a former president of ORSSA, died on 2 June at the age of 86 in Eversdal, Durbanville. He is survived by his wife and four children. In 1976 he became the seventh president of ORSSA. Previously he had been the second chairperson of the Western Cape Branch of ORSSA.

He matriculated at the Paarl Gymnasium and studied at the universities of Stellenbosch and Pretoria, as well as at the Cranfield Institute of Technology in England. In his early career, he was a research officer in the mathematics, statistics and industrial economics division at the CSIR and a senior lecturer in OR at Unisa. For the main part of his career, he worked at SANLAM as manager of planning, among other roles. He was in their senior management for many years until his retirement. After that he worked for a number of years for Barra Inc., the U.S. based financial company that administers a range of performance indices widely used in the investment industry.

He was the chairman of the Eversdal tennis club, where he was known for his saying "only three strokes". With that, he wanted to encourage club members that if they could get it right and regularly hit the ball over the net at least three times in a point, it will likely be a good game for them. In the early days of ORSSA, Hendrik du Plessis played an important role in guiding the direction in which OR should move in South Africa, based on practice. We honour his memory.

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