Pedrie Johannes Wannenburg
On April 22, 2022 the world lost an incredible man who embodied the definition of larger than life. Pedrie Johannes Wannenburg, loving husband, dedicated father, devoted son, loyal brother, South African rugby star, champion, coach and dear friend passed away tragically in Houston, Texas at the age of 41.
Pedrie had an infectious energy experienced by anyone he encountered, full of life, always smiling, and making others laugh. He loved rugby, golf, music had excellent dance moves and also held the crown for the king of the grill. Pedrie could never turn down a challenge, loved to challenge you and loved winning. Towering at 6’4” with a South African accent and baby blue eyes, Pedrie was a remarkable soul who was unforgettable in every environment.
Pedrie Wannenburg was born on January 2, 1981 to Carl and Hansa Wannenburg. The first born of three, he remained close with his brother and sister through his last days. Pedrie and his younger brother Callie did everything together growing up, including competing against each other in professional rugby. Callie once scored a try right between Pedrie’s legs, and Callie gave him a bite on the ankle just to make sure he knows even though he is younger, he can still give his big brother a run for his money. Odette and Pedrie shared a very special bond, they lived together for a few years when Odette just finished high school. She was always very protective of her big brother, especially when it came to him dating. Pedrie’s early morning calls on a daily basis to his parents will be missed tremendously. The cherished memories are etched in their hearts for eternity.
Beginning a professional rugby career in 2001, Pedrie was the first to play 99 consecutive matches and the first player to reach 100 games for the Bulls. To this day he still holds this record. In Super Rugby he won three titles with his team in 2007, 2009 and 2010.
In 2010 Pedrie fell head over heels for Evette who at the time was a South African radio personality. They met during an early morning interview. After their first date a couple of weeks later, they both moved to Ireland and got married a year later. They began their life together and his rugby career took them to Ireland where Isabelle was born, France where Francois was born, then to Colorado, and finally, Texas. Settling outside of Houston in Weston Lakes, Pedrie and Evette found a special place to raise their family.
Pedrie spent his post-athlete years dedicated to his wife Evette, raising Isabelle and Francois, developing rugby in the United States, coaching rugby and the youth sports, playing golf, and building a new career.
He adored Evette and his children, putting a profound passion and energy into
the happiness of their family. Pedrie was the ultimate father, supporting his children in every part of life from sports to academics, cooking meals to driving them across town, and family was his number one. He coached Francois’s little league baseball team, and made helping Isabelle and Francois in their chosen sports a priority.
It is hard to imagine how one man could do it all, however, he did.
In 2021 Pedrie became Head Coach for Rice University Rugby where he would lead them to an undefeated season his first season with the club. He supported the Houston SaberCats Major League Rugby team, and worked to bring talent and exposure to the organization. Pedrie’s impact was felt by so many, and his legacy will live on through the lives he touched.
Pedrie Wannenburg is survived by his wife Evette, children Isabelle and Francois, his parents Carl and Hansa Wannenburg, brother Callie and his wife Carine, sister Odette Heyns, brother-in-law Jan and his wife Hesti, brother-in-law Derick, and his sister-in-law Natasha, along with numerous nieces and nephews.
God said to “fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”