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Remembering Neil Jacobs (1964–2023)

Updated: Apr 5

by Stephan Visagie

It is with great sadness that we share the untimely passing of Dr Neil Jacobs, Chair of the Department of Logistics at Stellenbosch University.

Neil grew up in the Kruger Park (Skukuza). He loved and had a very good knowledge of nature and wildlife. He could entertain you on interesting facts and scientific knowledge on both animals and plants alike. He would for example collect his own mushrooms in the mountains surrounding Stellenbosch. He had excellent knowledge of the different types, where they would most likely grow and which ones where edible or not.

He studied Industrial Engineering at the University of Pretoria and worked in Africa for a couple of years. He then came to Stellenbosch to do an MPhil in transport and logistics at the department of Logistics with the title “Besluitneming met die distribusie van koring in Suid-Afrika” or in English: “Decision making with the distribution of wheat in South Africa.” After completing his degree, he was appointed as a lecturer in the same department, where he started teaching Operations Research. Neil also completed his PhD, titled “Vragrangskikkings ter voorkoming van asmassalasgrens-oorskryding deur padkarweiers in Suid-Afrika” (Cargo arrangement to prevent breaking axle mass constraints in road hauliers in South Africa) while a staff member in this department. He promoted to senior lecturer in 2012. He was passionate about teaching and optimisation of logistical problems. In 2021 he became the head of the Department of Logistics.

Neil has been a member of ORSSA since 2001. He was a former Treasurer of the Society and has given generously towards conference sponsorships. He also did a fantastic job as the Conference Treasurer for the 50th Jubilee Conference LOC in 2019.

Neil was a jovial person who enjoyed good company and would be at the heart of a social event until the small hours of the night. He was an excellent cook and even a better braaier. He was a very keen mountain biker, founding member of a saw club (a close nit circle of men that saw down unwanted/invader trees and chop it up as firewood for themselves). He was an excellent marksman and part of a shooting club.

Neil leaves behind his wife, Cornelia, daughter Maria and son Johannes. Our sincerest condolences go out to them. We will miss him dearly as a colleague and member of ORSSA.

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