Tribute to Mike Jaensch
05 February 2021
Tribute to Mike Jaensch. When I went for my interview with Rod Patterson at Transvaal Snake Park back in 1979, we returned to Durban in my old VW Kombi Camper and it broke down in Edenvale. Alternator trouble. We made it to the closest garage and the mechanic confirmed that the alternator had packed up. I was on a shoe-string budget and he sold me a used alternator for R20. 00 and let us use his tools to fix it ourselves. It was Mike Jaensch and that was the beginning of a 40 year friendship.
Mike lived life with passion and dearly loved his wife Heidi who spent the last 20-odd years of her life in a wheelchair. Their daughter Melanie suffered from the same medical condition as her mother and passed away in her 30s.
If ever anyone had green fingers when it came to breeding reptiles it was Mike and he managed to breed reptiles that other keepers found difficult to keep alive. He travelled to the USA, Singapore, Madascar and Namibia in search of reptiles and his passion made it difficult for Mike to sit down and chat – he was far too animated and communicated better standing up.
In addition to our interest in reptiles we also shared a passion for good cars and those that knew Mike also knew his favourite saying – Johan, that is sheet!
He was a no nonsense man, spoke his mind and had a large circle of friends. If he didn’t like you, he wouldn’t even open the gate.
Many of us will miss him but with fond memories.