Jéan Paul Meiring (JP)
On this page we lovingly pay tribute to our beloved Jéan Paul (JP) who passed away on 29 April 2021. JP was fondly known by many as ‘the Legend’ – and was a wonderful father, husband, son and friend to many and will be sorely missed.
JP was one who always wore his heart on his sleeve and let people know how he felt. He could always be relied on for his honesty and speaking his mind.
He lived most of his life according to his motto, “Never Give Up” which is a good inspiration to us all on how to tackle any adveristy that comes our way.
His wise advice and his tough love will be missed but his spirit will remain in our hearts and through our laughter, as we reminisce with all the stories and adventures we were fortunate to share with him.
Late in 2017, at the age of 43 years, JP was shockingly diagnosed with terminal cancer: it had begun in the colon but already spread to his organs including his liver. Receiving the news came completely out of the blue and it felt like a bombshell.
In typical JP style however, he faced the challenge head on and was an inspiring example to everyone. Knowing his time might be short, JP made the most of his final years; many friends and family from all round the world got to spend precious moments together with him, creating lasting memories.
In spite of the long years on chemotherapy and other treatments he showed great strength and courage, even through all the pain and difficult side-effects of the medicines, which was a real testament to his character.
JP’s wish in his final days was that he wanted his family and friends to keep going, to make the most of our days and to live fully, keeping his memory alive in our actions and in our hearts.
He passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family which was his final wish.
JP did not lose his fight with cancer; in fact he triumphed over the difficult illness through his positive attitude and in the way that he lived a meaningful life to the end. His final years were filled with love, joyful laughter and numerous meaningful moments which brought great happiness and harmony to his family.
He lives on in our hearts and will never be forgotten.
We would love all who knew Jéan Paul (JP) to contribute your memories and stories, and share in building on this memorial and the condolences page (link below). JP would have loved the recounting of the experiences and stories we all have of our times together and it will serve as a long-term memoir for his friends and family to enjoy.
Jéan Paul Meiring’s Life Story
Born: St Augustine Hospital, Durban, South Africa (1st of March 1974)
Schools: Pitlochry Senior Primary, Westville Boys High
While JP might have lacked in enthusiasm for academics, he dedicated himself and flourished in his sports. Football came naturally to him, with the ability to shoot with either foot, and the fitness to both attack and defend. Not only did he win the age group player of the season (under 12) but also the top player for all age groups for the entire club at Chiltern Football Club. He was also a keen rugby player (place kicker); enjoyed his tennis, playing with a one-handed backhand; and was a goal keeper for the 1st Team Hockey.
JP was the eldest of three sons; together with his brothers Lance and Carl he enjoyed a wonderful childhood at their family home in Westville.
(1992) Army: Artillery division – Driver for the G6 Howizter
JP joined the army directly after school, at 17 years of age. He was selected to run for the army running team where he ran numerous marathons including the Comrades Ultra Marathon (89km) at age 18 in 1992 (running his second Comrades in 1993).
He completed his army service in the Natal Midlands during troubled times and that experience became deeply rooted and helped to shape the man he became in his adult life.
(1993 – 1995) Cedara agricultural College
JP attended Cedara where he enjoyed the freedom and independence that came with being away from the family home and the army. He played 1st team rugby and he loved to tell the story of how his academic highlight was achieving 100% for artificial insemination.
(1995 – 1997) Working holiday in UK
JP enjoyed his time on his two-year working holiday visa, meeting new friends, working and partying to the fullest degree. JP worked on various jobs during that time including setting up facilities at festivals throughout Europe. His favourite trip was to Pamplona where he ran with the bulls for 6 days in a row. It resulted in him being published in a local Spanish newspaper with a picture of him running next to a bull; his family still have that picture today (pic: JP in the multi-colour rugby jersey).
(1997 – 2001) Farmer Meiring and starting life in the removals industry in South Africa
After his return to South Africa, JP initially worked on the Mcghee’s farm (close family friends) and played flank for the Pinetown 1st Rugby team.
It was during this phase of his life that JP did his first Dusi canoe marathon (a 3-day canoe challenge on the Dusi river, between Pietermaritzburg and Durban in South Africa) with his brother-from-another-mother, Darryl Mcghee. He completed subsequent Dusi races with his great friends Ron Van As and Wayne Davies.
It was also during this time that JP met his future wife, Natasha. After dating for some time JP convinced Natasha to compete in a Dusi race with him and Natasha unwittingly agreed. They completed the tough challenge despite wrapping their boat around a rock on the second day, exchanging many heated words and reducing Natasha to tears with his tough advice to “just bite the bullet” when the going got tough. They laughingly agreed in future years that if they could get through that together they could get through anything.
On the career front, JP started life at Magna International Movers in 1997 as a storeman / guard. Proving his strong work ethic he quickly rose through the ranks to eventually become the Regional Manager.
In 1999 JP achieved his private pilots licence which had been a long time dream, with Natasha enjoying a ride as his first passenger.
(2001) Best friends tie the knot
On 1 December 2001 JP married his beautiful bride Natasha, on a misty afternoon in the Valley of a Thousand Hills in Kwazulu Natal. They celebrated with their close friends and family, and in true form they partied into the early hours of the next morning.
At the start of the Reception, JP hefted a surprised Natasha over his shoulder and entered the room to the song, “Impi” by Johnny Clegg, much to the delight of the assembled guests.
During his speech, JP presented his father-in-law with ‘Labola’, a traditional Zulu dowry (usually given in the form of cattle) – in this case, two large pieces of biltong (dried meat) – which was laughingly accepted by his father-in-law to much laughter and applause.
(2001 to 2008) Conquering the UK
JP had made the decision with Natasha that they would start their new lives together in the UK. They settled initially in Ealing Broadway, West London and spent their early years together taking advantage of earning the Pound and cheap travel to explore much of Europe together. The places they visited included Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Turkey, Spain, France and Iceland among others.
JP joined Stewart, Harvey & Woodbridge in early 2002 and continued his career in the removals industry.
Eventually JP and Natasha made the decision to jump on the property ladder and bought a small, one-bedroom apartment in Deptford Bridge, basing themselves in East London for the first time where Greenwich and Blackheath became their local hangouts.
A few years later, when they started planning to expand their family, they moved further out east to Chislehurst in Bromley where they enjoyed ‘country life’ for the first time, with JP even joining the local cricket team.
In August 2006 Ela was born and JP became a proud dad to their beautiful daughter.
(2008 to 2021) The big move to New Zealand
In 2008 JP and Natasha made the decision to relocate their growing family to the beautiful island of New Zealand, ‘The Land of the Long White Cloud’.
True to form, JP did all the research and due diligence as only JP could and found the perfect home for his family. They settled happily in Auckland, taking many weekends and holiday trips to explore the beautiful country.
It was also at this time that JP joined The Moving Company at the Auckland branch and spent his next years supporting the owner, also his great friend, Mark Pitcher with expanding the company and developing their international connections. An aspect of the job that JP loved was to travel each year to various conferences around the world, making and cementing many great friendships and having numerous (mis)adventures along the way.
In 2009, JP and Natasha had a second child and JP became a proud dad to their wonderful son, Luke.
In the years that followed, JP was able to see his children grow into the fine young people they are today. He was always extremely proud of them and supported their various sports and activities, including coaching Luke’s soccer team for a couple of years. JP also arranged many wonderful family holidays, both within New Zealand and to other locations including South Africa and Australia.
(2017 – 2021) The last great challenge
In October 2017, after complications with his health, JP received the diagnosis that he had colon cancer which had spread to his organs including his liver. The prognosis was dire: it was already well advanced and was in a terminal stage. Despite the fact that the news was devastating, JP unflinchingly agreed to start chemotherapy treatment immediately and so began the journey of the next 3 and a half years.
JP was incredibly fortunate to have Ben Lawrence as his Oncologist, a man who was not just a noteworthy doctor but also became a mentor and incredible support for JP (and Natasha) as he negotiated his way through months of intense treatments, often with difficult side effects. JP’s physical as well as emotional health were always of interest to Ben and he cared for JP in a truly holistic way.
The early treatments were extremely effective and so JP made the decision, supported by Natasha, that he would take a break from treatment so that they could fulfil their dream of travelling to Europe together as a family.
In July 2018, the Meiring family set off for their Europe adventure. Their travels took them first to London (UK), where the highlights included visiting long-standing friends and colleagues, visiting the Harry Potter exhibit, going to Buckingham Palace and watching the changing of the guards and doing a bus/ferry tour of London.
Next stop was Paris (France) where they enjoyed visits to the Eiffel Tower, the Champs-Elysees, the Arc de Triomphe; taking long walks along the Seine and through the many beautiful boulevards in the city.
The final stop was southern Germany, stopping off in Munich and then travelling through Bavaria and enjoying long walks and swims in the pristine lakes. The family later agreed that this was a special highlight of the whole trip. While in Germany the family also took the chance to meet with some close friends who had helped to care for the children in past years. Another highlight for JP was visiting a local castle and standing on the same bridge where he had stood many years before in his younger days.
The final chapter
By early 2021, JP had used up all possible treatments except for one final possibility. The first cycle of the medicine resulted in severe side effects and he took a break for a week before taking the decision to start the second cycle. Mid-way through the second cycle, after seeing his blood results, his Oncologist called with the disappointing news: the blood tests showed that the new treatment was not working. A subsequent CT scan confirmed the worst: there was no more that medicine could do to help extend his time.
Once again faced with devastating news, JP took it on the chin and turned his attention to spending as much quality time with his kids and family as possible; and getting his affairs in order.
In the final weeks, his health deteriorated until he was eventually admitted to the local Hospice where he came under the care of the most incredible team of doctors and nurses, who cared for his emotional as well as physical needs. True to form, even in the week before he died he was able to make a room full of doctors laugh at his jokes.
JP passed away on Thursday, 29 April surrounded by his family which had been his final wish.
The Legend will never be forgotten. Always in our hearts.
Details of the funeral services will be communicated once finalised.