Geoff Leach, who passed away on 24 December 2018, will be remembered for his life-long dedication to the pig industry. His family and colleagues in the organised pig industry all remember him as a cool-headed person who could “see through the clutter” and focus on the problem at hand.
Geoff was a stalwart, not only in his home province the Free State, but also in the pig industry at national level. Pork promotions, specifically, were close to his heart. His farm, GG Leach Piggeries, is situated close to Harrismith in the Free State and is managed by his daughter, Gill Weaver.
Dr Edgar Payne, who has been chairman of the Free State Pork Producers’ Organisation (FSPPO) for many years, said when he joined the organisation in 1993, Geoff was already on the organisation’s board. “What I remember is his wonderful ability to bring calmness to a situation. He used to listen to all points of view and then he would calmly sum up the situation and suggest a solution.”
Gustaf van der Merwe, who has also served on the FSPPO board for many years, said Geoff served the pig industry with heart and soul. “He was extremely sharp and wise and when he talked, people listened.” Geoff received SAPPO’s Gold Medal in 1997.
Marieta Human, SAPPO’s marketing manager, worked with Geoff for many years. “He usually listened to all arguments and then he would make a conclusion and suggest a sober decision. He had a holographic view of problems. Promotions were his big interest and he attached a lot of value to them as he believed they worked.”
Marieta said Geoff also played a huge role in the transition period when pork producers established their own organisation. He believed that SAPPO should have an own identity independent of the Meat Board.
SAPPO’s former CEO, Simon Streicher, said Geoff was always friendly and willing to help when his help was needed. “He was first and foremost a family man who adored his family. He made a lot of time available, not only to the organised pig industry, but also to other structures such as the Meat Board and Samic.”
Geoff’s daughter Gill said they could not have asked for a better father. “He was kind and generous and he never missed an important event of his children and grandchildren. Dad loved the outdoors and enjoyed fishing and bird watching.”
Geoff leaves behind his wife Peggy, five children and 13 grandchildren.