Michael Falcon died in South Africa on 25th March, 1961, at the age of 57.

Born in Pretoria, he was educated at Hilton College and Natal University before coming to England to study at St. John’s College, Cambridge, in 1922. He obtained the B.A. degree in 1925 and was subsequently awarded the M.A. with honours in natural sciences. He trained at the Royal School of Mines from 1925 to 1927 and received the A.R.S.M. in mining in 1927.

Mr. Falcon returned to South Africa to join Van Ryn Deep, Ltd. He was assistant surveyor for four years, followed by two years in various capacities, and in 1931 was appointed shift boss and acting mine captain, gaining during this period the Mine Surveyor’s and Mine Manager’s Certificates of Competency of the Union of South Africa. He was made mine overseer in 1934 and held this post until 1938. He left Van Ryn Deep on his appointment by the Gold Producers’ Committee to the position of assistant technical adviser to the Transvaal Chamber of Mines. He became technical adviser in 1952 of the combined Transvaal and Orange Free State Chamber of Mines.

During the war he gave part-time service as major with the Mines Engineering Brigade, S.A.E.C.

Mr. Falcon was elected a Student of the Institution in 1926, an Associate Member in 1934 and full Member in 1945. He was Overseas Member of Council for South Africa continuously for the nine years from 1952 and at the time of his death was Chairman of the South African Executive Committee of the Seventh Commonwealth Mining and Metallurgical Congress. He was a Life Member, Past President (1946-47) and Honorary Treasurer of the South African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy and served on their Council for 21 consecutive years. He was also Senior Vice-President of the Associated Scientific and Technical Societies of South Africa at the time of his death.

Mr. W.E. Gooday writes: The loss of Michael Falcon is most deeply regretted. He was a very sound fellow upon whom his friends and colleagues could always depend for his conscientiousness and kindliness. Those qualities characterized the carrying out of his duties, in which I was glad occasionally to be associated with him, as well as his voluntary activities, for example, in the South African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy and the Royal School of Mines Association, where we collaborated more frequently.

I think his old friends will agree that Michael was that kind of man to whom others turn to ‘talk things over’, from whom thoughtful and sound judgements come tempered with good humour and congeniality.

His motto could well have been ‘sodalitas convivium’ and should have been borne for many more years.

He was for some time a Governor of Hilton College (Natal) where his father had been the distinguished headmaster.

Michael Falcon, with no lack of manliness, was indeed a gentle man.

His presence among us was a living lesson in good nature. His absence is sorrowfully deplored.

Vol. 71, Trans IMM 1961-62, pp.44-45

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