Rest In Peace Paul Dobson
Wail, O cypress, for the cedar has fallen.
It is with license that I paraphrase this Zechariah 11:2 verse.
It is with great sadness that we confirm the passing of Paul Dobson, a giant of the game and THE stalwart at @rugby365com.
Paul Dobson, known as ‘Oupa’ to many closely associated with rugby365, passed away on Monday afternoon – after losing his battle with illness.
No eulogy can truly do justice to this mild-mannered gentleman that has been such an inspiration to us.
However, we will give you a glimpse of the special man that he was.
Paul Dobson was the most selfless person I have ever met who served the game of rugby union with distinction. A great man, loved by many… his family, first and foremost and all within the rugby community. You will be missed, Oups; love you! 🙏❤️
— Howard Kahn (@Howiekahn) July 20, 2020
Heavy day to be a rugby man. Former top referee, raconteur and rugby master Paul Dobson has died. He shared his wisdom liberally and was much loved. Thoughts and prayers with his family. Go well, Mister D.
— Clinton van der Berg (@ClintonV) July 20, 2020
Paul Dobson was so much more than just the world-acclaimed writer and refereeing guru most people knew him as.
Those of us who were fortunate enough to get to know him more intimately, will have been the richer for the experience.
Paul was the epitome of a ‘Walking encyclopedia’ on the history of the game and his profound knowledge of the laws of the game was awe-inspiring.
He passed his law exam every year for the last 50 years.
Dobson became Chairman of the Western Province Referees Society in 1985 and managed all aspects of refereeing in the region until his retirement in 1999. He was a member of the Western Province Rugby Council for 15 years.
It was not a surprise when World Rugby acknowledged him with an award for his ‘service to the game’ in 2012 – an award he received at Newlands during the semifinals of the IRB Junior World Championship.
However, it is when you sat down with Paul for a social chat that you really appreciated his vast knowledge, his passions for the game and the most endearing characteristic, always willing to help.
Deeply saddened to hear of Paul Dobson’s passing. A terrific person, totally passionate about the practice and history of refereeing. Deserving recipient of the World Rugby referee award for distinguished service in 2012. My thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.
— Sir Bill Beaumont (@BillBeaumont) July 20, 2020
Tough as teak as a school master, but as fair and considered as you could ask for. A bit like his refereeing. Uncle Paul touched a lot of lives, including this one. Rest easy Paul Dobson
— Tank Lanning (@TankLanning) July 20, 2020
Farewell to a dear and much admired friend. A wordsmith of note Paul loved writing and rugby in equal measure and was a “guru” in both. Give my best to Basil and Doc, Paul. Sure you’re already debating the law changes. Condolences to family. RIP old friend https://t.co/atyQX1oTiD
— Dan Retief (@Retief_Dan) July 20, 2020
Paul was always willing to share his knowledge and never too rushed for an interview.
Paul was also known as The Oracle by the team.
Born in Diep River, Cape Town, 1935, he was a teacher by profession.
He taught in Australia, Natal, Johannesburg and England. Paul was then a master at Bishops for 29 years – before moving onto Lenco Holdings and then Rugby365 since 1999.
Paul Dobson leaves behind his wife Margaret and three children – John, Anne and Clare – and five grandchildren, Tom, James, David, Sarah and Annabel.
* Rest eternal grant onto Paul O Lord, and let light perpetual shine upon him.