Tribute to a phenomenal woman

2016-03-02 06:00
Luise Renate Schmitt.

Luise Renate Schmitt.

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“MANY long-time Greytown residents will have been familiar with the sight of the 90-something-year-old Mrs Schmitt walking to town, sans walking-stick, to run her errands, pay her utility bills, visit old friends at Arcadia and, most memorably, walk to the Greytown Gazette office every Wednesday to collect a pile of Gazettes to, as she put it, “hand them out to the old people at Arcadia and Concordia”.

Many a time she was also seen at the bedsides of frail and ailing friends in Arcadia, reading to them from the Bible when they were no longer able to do so themselves, or simply reciting old familiar hymns to them - giving them comfort during their last days in God’s Waiting Room.
Renate was born on 11 January, 1925 on the farm “Freiburg” in Elandskraal, and how as fourth-oldest in a family of 10, she grew accustomed to, and loved the idea, of a huge family. She eventually brought 11 children into the world.

After attending Deutsche Schule Hermannsburg, she worked at the telephone exchange company and was transferred to Swartberg, East Griqualand, where she met her husband-to-be, Conrad Schmitt. Some years later, in order to be able to send their children to Hermannsburg, they moved to Umvoti, buying the farm “Brocken” in Seven Oaks, where they farmed for almost 30 years before retiring to Greytown.

Never shying away from hard work or her duty, Renate tirelessly, and with seemingly never-ending patience and love, tended to her husband (who suffered from severe dementia in the last years of his life) until his death in 2003.

Some time thereafter she moved to Concordia, where she continued to work in her garden, did her own housework, baked her own bread and always ensured that home-made “Ouma biscuits” were never in short supply when any of her 22 grandchildren or 15 great-grandchildren came to visit.

As a paragon of perseverance, humility and strength, she will continue to inspire those who knew her.
She taught us never to shy away from hard work, she taught us the difference between “want” and “need” - to be grateful for what we have, rather than resentful of what we don’t - and that on a cold, rainy day nothing warms the soul quite like a big, wholesome pot of soup and a mountain of pancakes.

The Schmitt family invites you to join them in Hermannsburg on Saturday, 5 March at 10am, to celebrate the long life of this phenomenal woman. -

Contributed by Brigitte

du Preez (granddaughter).

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