RIP: Maurice Kort, SAAFoST Stalwart

The South African food industry has lost a dedicated servant. Maurice Kort, long time volunteer national secretary of SAAFoST (1994-2004), died of cancer yesterday morning. This tribute was published in Food Review magazine in 2004 when he stepped down as SAAFoST secretary, but it’s just as relevant today. We republish it in honour of an extremely dedicated and committed SAAFoST member and worker, one of the great characters of the industry. Whoever will forget the pony tail, the hand-knitted jerseys and the bottle green suit. We shall miss you, Maurice!

DR MAURICE KORT was a UCT chemist who spent almost his entire career with the Sugar Milling Research Institute, University of Natal, Durban. He was an integral part of SAAFoST since 1972 when he was a member of the first Natal Branch committee. He subsequently served as Natal branch treasurer, Natal Branch chairman, SAAFoST vice president, and for ten years was both national secretary and chairman of the Executive committee of Council.

Maurice was also deeply involved with the theatre in Durban, being one its most pro-active and positive supporters, a reviewer and judge.

Maurice is one of the great perfectionists of our time. Apart from being a strict guardian of SAAFoST’s purse strings, one of his great strengths has been the accuracy and detail in the minutes he wrote for Council and Exco – and I can only remember him having to miss one Council meeting in all the years – and then he went to great pains to try and have it re-scheduled so that he would have to miss it. Now that is commitment!
Ron Timm, past SAAFoST president

Maurice’s special qualities have been of enormous benefit to SAAFoST, whither at branch or national level. He approached every task with complete dedication and brought his several talents to bear to ensure that the job was done to the highest standard.

We are indeed grateful this quiet man saw fit to dedicate so much time to the interests of SAAFoST, its members and food science and technology in general.

Go well Maurice, your solid contibution will always be an example much appreciated.
Nick Starke, SAAFoST past president

Maurice is without doubt one of SAAFoST’s most longstanding and dedicated members. He stepped into the national sectretary post at a time when SAAFoST was going through major administrative difficulties and proceeded to restore and maintain a highly efficient secretarial and administrative function, much of which he conducted on a purely voluntary basis.

‘Such was his dedication that the administration of SAAFoST was actually conducted from his flat in Durban, which over the years became increasingly taken over by computers, printers, fax machines and vast quantities of SAAFoST paperwork and records. Council and committee members will testify to e-mails despatched in the early hours of the morning as Maurice burnt the midnight oil to keep up to date with his ever-increasing workload.

We owe Maurice our deepest thanks for his enormous efforts over the years.
Nigel Sunley, SAAFoST president

Maurice is Mr Efficiency and always willing to go the extra mile to help. He has been dedicated to SAAFoST and for years has born the load of its administration, with but token remuneration. Single-handedly, and several times a year, he would compose, print, fold, stuff and label 1 500 items of mail – and that was just one of his duties – all undertaken with pleasure because they were important for SAAFoST, its members and its efficient running.

Maurice, we have to say a very big “Thank You”.
Bernard Cole, past Northern Branch chairman

There will never be another — there is only one MJK! Many individuals have worked extremely hard for SAAFoST, but Maurice occupies the top rung of the ladder, and I have no doubt, always will. He is the classic scholar and gentleman – and perfectionist. When he is going to do something, take it as read, it is done and done perfectly.

I am honoured, proud, and privileged to have met, known and worked with Maurice, his fingerprint is a permanent tattoo on SAAFoST. We salute you and thank you for a task handled with extra special perfection, dedication and loyalty.
Aubrey Parsons, past SAAFoST president

I worked with Maurice as a SAAFoST colleague for some 13 years and truthfully have never met someone so dedicated to a cause. It would be interesting to try and guess at the number of hours that Maurice has put in over the last 25 years and it’s fortunate that we didn’t pay him the going rate! He was always reliable and willing to take on work and, of course, his attention to detail gave us all a challenge to find mistakes that were rarely there.

A big thank you for what you have contributed to a thriving Association.
Peter Bush, past SAAFoST president, now resident in Australia