It is with sadness that we announce that Prof Kris Adendorff, a well-known figure in the South African field of Industrial Engineering, passed away on Sunday 26 October 2014 at the age of 83.
Kristian Adendorff was born on 21 April 1931 in Pietermaritzburg. He obtained a BSc in Electrical Engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand in 1953 and MBA and DBA degrees at the University of Pretoria in 1961 and 1969 respectively.
Kris Adendorff joined the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Pretoria in 1959. He started off in the Department of Electrical Engineering and then joined Mechanical Engineering when Industrial Engineering was first offered as a separate degree in the department – this was in 1961. He was thus from the outset involved with the development of the Industrial Engineering degree programme and the training of Industrial Engineers in South Africa and became fittingly known as the father of Industrial Engineering in South Africa.
Prof Adendorff retired as a Professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering in 1991. As Professor Emeritus, he continued his work in the department on a part time basis until his passing. During this time he taught virtually all under and postgraduate courses in Industrial Engineering and played a key role in defining the Industrial Engineering curriculum right from the start. Prof Adendorff’s role as supervisor at masters and doctoral level was truly staggering. The numbers speak for themselves: he supervised in excess of 150 MEng and MBA degrees and more than 20 DEng, PhD and DBA degrees. His alumni truly shaped the Industrial Engineering landscape of South Africa.
Prof Adendorff played a key role in establishing Industrial Engineering as a professional engineering discipline in South Africa. He was a founder member of the South African Institute of Industrial Engineers, now the Southern African Institute for Industrial Engineering (SAIIE). As member of the Institute he served in all capacities including President and he was an Honorary Fellow of the Institute. He was instrumental in achieving recognition from the precursor of the Engineering Council of South Africa for SAIIE as a voluntary association in 1984, which enabled the IE profession to control the professional registration of Industrial Engineers in South Africa. He was a member of the South African Institute of Electrical Engineers and a Faculty Member of the Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns. He was a registered Professional Engineer.
Kris Adendorff not only established himself as a leader in academia but also in professional practice. He was the Chairman and Managing Director of CA du Toit (Pty) Ltd and was still active in consulting as Director of Krissakon CC.
Kris Adendorff was the epitome of the proverbial Renaissance man. Widely read and widely travelled, his interests included blacksmithery and woodwork. He once translated a French play into Afrikaans in order to improve his French and for the intellectual challenge that it posed. He dabbled in painting and was a keen golfer. In earlier days he excelled in tennis and cricket and also coached the Student Engineering rugby team at Tuks. On a spiritual level he served as a Church Elder from 1976 to 1990.
Our deepest sympathy to Prof Adendorff's wife, Riekie (they would have celebrated 60 years of marriage in April 2015), his daughter Susan and grandchildren Herman and his wife Anneke, and Kristian. May precious memories fill your heart and ease your pain.