DENNIS WILLIAM MUIR
- - 'Joe'
Dennis William Muir.
COAST PROVINCE ROADS ENGINEER
- - Dennis
William Muir known universally as "Joe" was
born in Cape Town,
South Africa on April 10th 1931 into a family of
a child his mother, a Matriarch of the
"Old School" instilled
in him the virtues of honesty,
integrity and love of family which he carried
with him for the rest of his life.
school Joe worked hard and played hard,
excelling at sports.
leaving school Joe joined a firm of Civil
continued his studies with classes at night
school so that he could obtain the
qualifications necessary to persue his
chosen career as a Civil Engineer.
he had obtained these qualifications Joe
applied for a post with the Public Works
Department of Kenya which was involved in the
construction of the International airport at
first task was the supervision of a large
contingent of local labourers engaged in
preparing and finishing the runway at the
order to communicate with his employees Joe
had to learn Swahili.
rapidly gained fluency in this language as
well as in Kikuyu, the language of the
predominant tribe at this time in Nairobi.
retained his mastery of these languages for
the rest of his life and would often engage in
conversation in Swahili with his daughter
Teddy in his home overlooking the English
Channel in Hythe, Kent.
day while still based in Nairobi Joe was
visiting a friend
who was in hospital when he was told
that there was a young German girl in an
adjacent ward who had few visitors and was in
need of cheering up.
and that young German girl, Püppi, much later
celebrated their 'Golden Wedding' anniversary
the airport at Nairobi was completed Joe was
posted to Kisumu.
1965 Joe, Püppi and their two children Alex
and Teddy drove down to Cape Town from Kisumu
for a holiday.
their return journey they stopped off in
Mombasa where Joe was later posted to become
Coast Province Engineer, Roads.
after his arrival in Mombasa Joe joined both
the Mombasa Golf Club and the Nyali Club which
became the focal points of the family's social
a golfer Joe played off a low single figure
handicap and was a formidable competitor,
particularly in match play where his ability
to scramble and get up and down from almost
impossible situations unnerved many an
later years Joe used to take pride in serving
his guests beer from the
Rowland Ward Bavarian crystal tankards
"Mugs" engraved with the "Big
Five" game animals which he had won in
Monthly Medal competitions.
often led to Joe producing a cutting from the
Sports Page of the East African Standard dated
1970 in which banner headlines proclaimed the
fact that "Mombasa was Proud of its
would then go on to relate how on the Good
Friday after the annual match against Royal
Nairobi the previous day he had had to call
the Mombasa Captain, Glyn Thomas, out of the
bar at the Nairobi Club, at ten minutes
notice, to partner him in the first round of
the Easter Tournament in place of his usual
partner - who had last been seen in the arms
of a 'Bluebell Girl' in the Casino the night
impromptu partnership had then gone undefeated
through all seven rounds of the
it was decided to upgrade the Nyali course to
18 holes Joe made
a significant contribution to the planning for
used to visit Kisumu every year to play in the
one occasion he won both the Scratch and
Handicap prizes and was not happy when he was
awarded the Scratch prize because this
deprived him of the "sweep money"
which went with the latter prize.
decision which still rankled more than 30
Coast Province Engineer, Roads, Joe was always
busy up and down the roads in Coast Province
and especially so when the President, Mzee
Jomo Kenyatta, was in residence at the coast.
day Joe and his road group were out working on
a culvert when the Presidential motorcade
when the President's car pulled alongside him
and with a swish of the Presidential fly whisk
Joe was summoned to the side of the car.
more astonished when the President addressed
him by his first name in Swahili and
complimented him on the state of the roads in
with another swish of the whisk the President
was on his way.
he retired from Government service Joe and the
to the U.K. and set up residence, first
in Beckenham and then in Hythe, Kent.
events in South Africa affected the value of
the Rand and hence Joe's investments he
returned to work as a Consultant Engineer
based in Zambia.
work took him to Pemba Island, Botswana,
Malawi and Kenya, and he often found himself
working under harsh conditions in the bush.
this time Joe was
not in the best of health but he persevered in this
work to ensure that his family would be well provided
for in the future.
was while he was on one of these surveys in Swaziland
struck the family when his only son Alex died.
was a grievous loss to Joe but he sought
solace in the company of his grandchildren
to play golf in his latter years Joe took to
competing in every
cross-word competition that he could get hold
of and his afternoons were
dominated by the T.V. when he would sit
and match his wits against the
competitors in quiz shows.
died on August 14th 2007 and is survived by his wife Püppi,
daughter Teddy and her children Kasandra and