Tributes to a great man
Sadly, Fritz Hellberg passed away on February 21 – but he will be remembered and loved forever by the members of an industry he held so close to his heart.
“From the first day I met Fritz I was touched and inspired by his passion! He has continued teaching me about the usage of technology to ‘tackle the mysteries’ in trucking. I will miss the many stimulating and impartial discussions … our deepest condolences to the family.”
– KOBUS VAN ZYL, VICE PRESIDENT OF COMMERCIAL VEHICLES AT MERCEDES-BENZ SOUTH AFRICA
“I still remember the day I met him. He walked into Oranje Toyota Welkom when I had just started selling trucks. He introduced himself and said that he had something to show me. He pulled out his laptop and demonstrated his software to me. I immediately called my dealer principal and he bought it for me – that was in 2000. I suppose Fritz is one of the reasons I am still in this business! I can attribute almost every truck I sold to his software, and he was a friend.”
– DANIE DE BEER, GENERAL MANAGER – COMMERCIAL VEHICLES AT HYUNDAI
“The work that Fritz has done over the years has been of incalculable value to the South African trucking industry. He was years ahead of his time and the advances that he introduced into the industry are now taken for granted. We have not only lost a friend, and a leader in South African trucking, but also one of life’s gentlemen. He will be sorely missed.”
– CAMERON DUDLEY-OWEN, OWNER OF AERO TRUCK
“Having worked for Fritz and his company, HTM, I got to know him as a much liked and dedicated ambassador to the commercial vehicle industry. He truly was a transport consultant, but also equipped dealers’ sales staff to become transport consultants themselves – a trade which is becoming increasingly important. He will be missed as a colleague and a close family friend.
“Our thoughts go out to the Hellberg family.”
– ERWIN STOLZE, GENERAL MANAGER OF HINO ORANJE
“Fritz has been an instrument, or catalyst, to understanding and simplifying vehicle workability, using technology to direct and optimise efficiency. He was an ambassador to the commercial vehicle industry. He will be missed by all.”
– SHAHEER ABRAHAMS, GENERAL MANAGER: SALES AND MARKETING, TATA AUTOMOBILE CORPORATION SA
“FAW Trucks offers its condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Fritz Hellberg, and mourns the loss of an icon in the commercial vehicle industry. He was a true visionary and gentleman and he will be sorely missed.”
– FAW TRUCKS
“It is indeed sad news, as another ‘great’ in the transport industry leaves our world.”
– DESMOND BOTHE, KEY ACCOUNT MANAGER FOR SALES AND MARKETING, IVECO SOUTHERN AFRICA
“Fritz Hellberg was a very kind and friendly person. He wasn’t only known for his excellence and expertise in his field of work, but also for cracking a joke or two in meetings. Fritz, Engen and the company’s staff had worked together for many years. He was a team player who always came up with different solutions to challenges.
“He had become a friend and someone to bounce ideas off and this is a great loss for Engen and all the other stakeholders he worked with.
“We are shocked and saddened by his sudden passing. Engen would especially like to send its condolences and prayers to the family of one of the greatest men the industry has ever worked with.
“From Engen, we wish Fritz’s family to know we are mourning with them. Although we will never know the extent of the pain you are going through, our thoughts and prayers are with you.”
“It is with great sadness that we heard of the passing of Fritz Hellberg. He has been a wonderful ambassador and stalwart of the local transport industry, and his expertise and insights will be sorely missed. He was a great man with such a unique character and our sympathies and thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues during this very difficult time.”
– UD TRUCKS SOUTHERN AFRICA
“From the staff and management team of Scania South Africa, we want to extend our sincere condolences to the family and close friends of Fritz Hellberg. We want to express our sympathy for your loss and to let you know that our thoughts are with you.”
– SCANIA SOUTH AFRICA
“Fritz was one of those guys who was always willing to help and nothing was too much trouble. The industry has lost a great man. I’m proud to say he was a friend of mine.”
– ADRIAN VAN TONDER, BARLOWORLD TRANSPORT SOLUTIONS
“Auf wiedersehen to a dear friend and colleague: Fritz you were a true master in the trucking industry. I salute you for the contribution that you made to improving professionalism in the trucking industry.
“Your name and trademark will remain forever.”
– VIC OLIVER OF VIC OLIVER AND ASSOCIATES
“I was sorry to hear about what I would describe as the untimely passing of Fritz, as he certainly was a man still of very sound mind and in good physical condition, despite having been entitled to pensioners’ benefits for a number of years already.
“My abiding memory of Fritz will be that he was ethical, honest and both the proverbial scholar and gentleman; qualities which are sadly often more the exception than the rule.
“Fritz made giant leaps in demystifying how trucks actually work, to both the professional and occasional truck operator. With the development of his HTM software, Fritz removed a lot of the conjecture and myth around what a given vehicle can and can’t do and what it might cost to operate. He did this in a way that no one else, I think, had been able to do up until this point.
“Fritz, to my mind, was a rare example of someone who had the intellect to fully understand what he was dealing with, in a way that he could translate into easy to understand pictures, diagrams and figures for the layman. I think that the South African trucking industry has lost an individual who made an invaluable contribution to the industry in general, but his work will be remembered for many years into the future.
“In summary, much as we are sorry to hear about Fritz’s passing, I think that we can also take some solace in that he was a man whose life was one well lived, and he did use his time to make a difference in his chosen field.
“To Fritz’s son, Jens, and the rest of his family, all of us at the Freightliner/Fuso division of Mercedes-Benz South Africa, extend our most sincere condolences in this time of bereavement.”
– DUNCAN PRINCE, PRODUCT MANAGER FOR FREIGHTLINER, FUSO AND WESTERN STAR AT MERCEDES-BENZ SOUTH AFRICA
Fritz Hellberg – a true visionary renowned for his ability to simplify transport efficiency concepts. MAN Truck & Bus (SA) remembers Fritz for his tremendous knowledge, honesty, accuracy and patience during the MAN Consistently Efficient tour. He handled the gruelling two week tour around arduous South African roads with natural aplomb. Of course, those that knew Fritz would know he had done this a thousand times in the past. He interacted with both truck drivers and customers with equal ease, patiently explaining the sometimes baffling results with natural patience throughout the many stops during the tour. His contribution to this tour and many others in the past was remarkable and certainly enriched many minds.
Our transport industry has lost a true stalwart, but as an industry we should celebrate the gains from his expert mind and ensure we use the knowledge gained from him into the future. Our deepest condolences to his family.
– MAN TRUCK & BUS SA
It was so sad to hear about Fritz. Gerotek sends condolences to his family. He was a regular at Gerotek from the days when he started the truck of the year competition. Our then boss, Robbie Viljoen, resigned from Gerotek to work for him. Fritz was highly respected throughout the industry and someone who did his work with passion. His efforts to combine testing with truck promotions were always innovative and we will remember him for that.
– PIET VD SCHYFF, MANAGER: MARKETING AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT, GEROTEK TEST FACILITIES