Passing of a Groundwater Legend

It was with shock and disbelief that we learnt of the passing of our esteemed, and much respected and beloved Prof. Gerhard Johannes van Tonder.  Prof. van Tonder died of a sudden heart attack on 22 April 2014, leaving behind his beloved wife Fransie, and his children Sanri and Gideon. He was 61. 

GWD HONORARY MEMBER : Prof Gerrit van Tonder

"Prof Gerrit Johannes van Tonder, born 9 March 1953, surely did not expect that his first position as Junior Lecturer at the University of the Freestate in 1976 would’ve resulted in an illustrious academic career with 47+ accredited Publications in Scientific Journals, attendance at 26 Conferences and author of more than 45 technical reports. His many career highlights accentuated the range and diversity of his scientific pursuits and the fact that this proclaimed Organic Gardener could also boast about more than 3000 rose bushes in his garden (more than 300 varieties), goes to show that he played just as hard as he worked! The GWD was extremely proud to present this formerly awarded “best outstanding groundwater scientist in SA in 2005 (Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAF), with the GWD Honorary Award in 2009."

The Groundwater Community is poorer without Prof Van Tonder. He was instrumental in developing groundwater hydrology and the capacity we have today. Like so many others, I will miss his engagements on a variety of issues. Hamba Kahle. - Dr Shafick Adams

I’m so sad to hear this – Gerrit bought the Karoo to life with groundwater and his own beautiful rose garden.  He was an absolute  bastion of the groundwater community – believed his science and acted on the evidence before him – and leaves a wonderful legacy of a generation of hydrogeologists. 

He will be sadly missed – we need a heavy weight like Gerrit in the fracking fights to come!  RIP.

Best wishes, Christine Colvin

I just received the sad news that Prof Gerrit van Tonder of the IGS in Bloemfontein died last night.

We will miss him dearly.

Dr Kornelius Riemann

I was a student is Prof van Tonders class in 1989. We were only 3 students (Shaun Staats and Inus Malan the others).

At the time groundwater was in its infancy as a career is South Africa. Prof van Tonder grew the love for groundwater in each student.

It is through his and others efforts that we now have a knowledgeable groundwater industry to the benefit of South Africa, Africa and the world with many of his students working abroad.

Mr Gawie van Dyk