My son Fred Konynenburg, who has taken his own life aged 52, was a highly respected lawyer with the international commercial law firm Hill Dickinson. He also had a lifelong passion for all periods of history. In his spare time he was a meticulous model maker of mostly second world war ordnance, and also took part in scale re-enactments of major battles.
Fred was born in Bristol when his mother, Julie Welch, and I were both students. In 1970 our family moved to London for Julie to commence her journalistic career, and for me to complete architectural training. Although Julie and I eventually separated, Fred was an important member of both our subsequent extended families.
Passionate about the Roman empire as a child, Fred developed a keen interest in all historical periods. He followed his parents’ passion for football to become an enthusiastic and active Liverpool FC supporter. He was also a keen Dylanologist, enjoying many gigs of his musical icon.
After primary school in south London, he attended Haileybury college and then Manchester University, where he studied history. Upon obtaining his degree he carefully considered whether to continue with historical study, but attendance at a career fair sparked an interest in the legal profession. He undertook a conversion course in the subject at Chester College, and was fascinated by the fact that laws of shipping and international trade were founded many centuries ago.
In 1995 he joined the City-based law firm Middleton Potts, where he became a partner aged only 32. When the firm was merged with Hill Dickinson, he became a bedrock of the firm’s commodities team. Entries in prominent legal directories acknowledge him as a brilliant legal mind with a practical nous that invariably solved problems at the outset.
Fred was a very kind and gentle person with a great humanity and a large number of friends both within his profession and socially. He had a tremendous brain, and was both interested and interesting.
Whilst at Middleton Potts, he met Susan Kearney, and their son, Aiden, was born in 2005. Fred is survived by Susan and Aiden, and his stepdaughter, Jade; and by his parents and step-parents, his brothers, Tim, Mike, Lucas, Nick and Joshua, and his sister, Saskia.