Tributes have been flooding in for well-known Port Elizabeth musician and city librarian Neville Ally following his death after a brief battle with cancer. He was 58.
Ally grew up in Korsten and, like his late pianist father Frank and siblings, was an accomplished jazz musician.
He was a member of the Maiden Voyage band in the early 1980s.
Ally and his teacher-musician father were popular figures playing gigs at hotels and restaurants in the ’80s and early ’90s.
Ally, who was also a talented bass guitarist, studied classical guitar.
Long-time family friend and singer Melvin Mathews said Ally had been not only a firstclass musician, but also a person of integrity.
“Neville was the one person who could motivate me off stage,” he said.
“Whenever I was down, I would call him and he would offer me words of encouragement. He was truly a fantastic individual.”
Ally joined the city’s library service after matriculating from St James Senior Secondary School 39 years ago.
He was Chatty Library head at the time of his death after stints at the Korsten and Linton Grange libraries.
City libraries manager Buyiswa Msizi said Ally had pioneered numerous community projects with Port Elizabeth schools.
“He was a one-of-a-kind librarian who vigorously engaged communities on library projects,” she said.
“His death is a huge loss – a person with his experience cannot be easily replaced.”
Msizi said seven years ago Ally had introduced interactive digital systems at the Chatty Library, whereby the youth could visually interact with stories.
It was also rolled out to the St Albans Prison.
“Neville was well-loved not only by colleagues and all departments for his approachable and likeable manner, but also by the many youth who visited the library,” she said.
Ally is survived by his wife Mercia, sons Darion and Kezley, mother Margaret, and four siblings.
The funeral service will take place at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church on Saturday at 10am, preceded by a memorial service at the Newton Park Library auditorium at 2pm today.