The Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) is saddened by the death of Topsy Baillon. She passed away on Wednesday, 3 December 2014 after a short illness. She was 81.
Topsy was born in Arusha, Tanganyika (present day Tanzania) on 4 August 1933. She worked as a secretary at J. Leslie Smith Attorneys in Pietermaritzburg for 38 years and was deeply passionate about the Comrades Marathon.
Topsy was a Life Member of the CMA and was involved on the race organising committee (ROC) since 1980. She served on various portfolios including Refreshment Stations and Marshalling.
She also assisted at the Green Number Club. She was a long serving member who is fondly remembered for her ever present smile and kindness.
CMA Chairman, Macdonald Chitja says, “Topsy’s graceful presence at Comrades will be missed but her unique reassuring smile will remain with us forever. We wish her family, friends and all who knew her strength during this difficult time.”
Fellow ROC Member, Ian Kerford says, “She was a very precious and sweet old lady, always with a smile on her face. She will truly be missed.”
CMA Board Member, Celi Makhboba says, “Topsy was indeed a lady & a half, very punctual, reliable and trustworthy. When she was given a task she would do it 100%. Even when she needed to voice her opinion, she would say it with dignity and in a very polite fashion. We will miss her. May her soul rest in peace.”
Former CMA Chairman, Barry Varty says, “Apart from the sorrow of her passing, my sympathies are extended to her family and close friends. She will be greatly missed.”
CMA Board Member, Peter Proctor says, “This is a sad loss to the Comrades Marathon. Topsy was a gracious lady who had an unquestionable love and passion for the Comrades Marathon which was illustrated in her dedication to the duties she performed with the various portfolios. She will be sorely missed by all. Rest in peace Topsy.”
Green Number Club Convener, Eileen Hall says, “Topsy loved to sit and chat to the Green Number runners as they came to register in the Green Number room in Pietermaritzburg. In later years she used to pop down for lunch and a chat. She truly loved Comrades.”
Family friend John Hall says, “Topsy had a full life and was full of life. We will miss her dearly.”
Her son Gerry Baillon says, “My mom will be remembered for many things; her stubbornness, fastidiousness and her love for hot curries – the hotter the better!”
Topsy is survived by her three sons Gerry, Anthony and Leslie, two grandchildren Holly and Michael; as well as her two sisters, Sylvia and Helen.
A memorial service to celebrate Topsy Baillon’s life will take place on Thursday 11th December 2014 at 15h00 at Comrades Marathon House – 18 Connaught Road, Scottsville, Pietermaritzburg.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made to Hospice.
Please RSVP: Bronwyn or Aleka – 033 897 8650