THE SOUTH AFRICAN CONNECTION
Submitted by Gay Roach
Gavin McGown was born in South Africa and started playing bridge at boarding school. He went on to become an orthopedic surgeon and emigrated from South Africa to the United States in 1982, landing in
Houston. He moved to Nacogdoches in 1992 and retired in 2000.
Gavin was bored and looking for something to do after he retired so his wife, Ros, gave him a “Bridge for Dummies” book for Christmas.
Max Walton was born in Broaddus in San Augustine County in Deep East Texas and graduated from UT with a major in English and a minor in French. He started playing bridge after he began a teaching career in Texas high schools. He wasn’t making much money and the Vietnam War had started so he got a job as an interpreter for the American Embassy in Saigon where he continued to play bridge.
Max then joined the State Department and was stationed in Swaziland and several other African countries. He married Merilyn in Ouagadougou, Burkino Faso (I mention this just because I love to
say Oh a you a gad oh goo, Burkino Faso). After he retired in 1994, he moved to Nacogdoches where he played social bridge.
Gavin and Max first met at a birthday party for a mutual friend from South Africa and Gavin started playing social bridge (after a hiatus of 30 years) with a group of friends and developed a good partnership with Max.
About 10 years ago they decided to try their hands at duplicate bridge. They have several 70% games under their belts and I am sure there will be many more. They are tough to beat--but easy to like--and we are happy they found their way to us.