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Mr. Billy Muller of IC South Africa celebrates his 100th birthday

The IC Council congratulates Mr. Billy Muller of IC South Africa who celebrated his 100th birthday in October 2008. Mr. Muller is the first IC member to reach this exceptional milestone:





SOUTH AFRICA CENTENARIAN

Billy Muller is 100 not out.
Our congratulations to Billy Muller, a prominent figure in Capetown and a long-time member of the
International Club of South Africa who, on 8th October last year, became the first member of the
worldwide IC family to celebrate a 100th birthday.
This landmark was suitably celebrated last December with a party organised by IC Cape Chairman
Mike Wolffe at ‘Greystones’, Billy’s home in the Constantia Valley, where his late wife Mary was
renowned for her gardening skills.
With his two daughters, Dot and Sue and his two sons Dirk and Nicky all present, as well as eight
IC members, Mike Wolffe paid tribute to the contribution Billy had made to the Capetown
community throughout his business life as a director and part owner of the family company
‘Spilhaus’.
Encouraged by his father to enjoy the outdoor life, Billy developed a love of trout fishing and
shooting as well as becoming an accomplished ballroom dancer. In later life he and Mary became
keen bridge players and Billy also discovered the joys and frustrations of golf.
It was as a boy at ‘Hohenhort’, the original family home in Capetown built by his German-born
grandfather, that Billy was introduced to tennis. In time he would join the Kelvin Grove Sports Club
where he also discovered an aptitude for squash - a skill which earned him representative honours
for Western Province.
Perhaps the most significant decision Billy ever made was to join the Wynberg Tennis Club for it
was there that he met Mary van Zijl, who would become his wife. The daughter of a prominent
Capetown family, Mary was already well known for her tennis prowess and it was no surprise when
she became the South African champion in 1947. That year she was chosen to join Eric Sturgess,
Eustace Fannin and Sheila Summers in the South African overseas touring team that would play at
Wimbledon.
The following year Mary returned to Wimbledon where she reached the fourth round. This time she
was accompanied by Billy who also made an appearance at The Championships. In the singles Billy
was beaten by the experienced British county player Gordon Fitt. In the doubles Billy played with
Tiny Musgrove and they were unlucky to have been drawn against the top seeded Americans, Bob
Falkenburg and Frank Parker, who saw them off in straight sets.
During this trip Billy met the British player Stanley Harris who would become a good friend. It was
Stanley who proposed Billy for membership of the International Club.
There was much to celebrate at the 100th birthday party. The birthday cake itself was a subtle work
of art. Shaped as an IC tie, it was blue instead of pink (blue for a boy) with the familiar stripes -
thin, thick, thin - in white . In the centre was a simple ‘100'.
As he proudly cut the cake, it was good to think that tennis and the comradeship of International
Club members, in South Africa and overseas, had enriched Billy Muller’s long and productive life
and helped him to celebrate this impressive milestone.

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