Earlier this year Gericke (66) was killed by two men while she was walking on a local hiking trail. Both suspects were arrested. The case is being heard in the Swellendam Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, Erna’s husband Bremer, a retired minister who had served the Stellenberg congregation for years, and Erna’s lifelong friend Settie Nel, decided to continue the work she had done shortly before her death.
Weeks before the tragedy, Erna and members of Barrydale In Bloom decided to spruce up the grounds at the local clinic, so it was obvious that they would celebrate her life and her passion for nature here.
A fitting tribute to Erna’s Memory
“The tree planting is so appropriate,” Bremer explained.
“A tree speaks of transience, a tree came from something that died, a seed that formed and then makes new life. Trees speak of transience and the past and memories and there are so many things we get from her that we can remember and carry along and the trees remind us of that. “
During this emotion-laden event during which Bremer shared his feelings on a public platform for the first time, it was once again clear just how big an impact Erna had made in the lives of her fellow man.
“She is the most exceptional person I have ever known and the main reason for this is that she is by nature a selfless person. There is a difference between being selfless and being selfless,” Bremer explained.
“Being unselfish is something you can teach a person, it’s a very nice trait. But living with yourself in the background and considering other people and other things more important than yourself – that’s what Erna symbolised, and that’s what she lived out every day.”
Erna’s best friend shares her memories
For Settie who told how she and Erna got to know each other as 13-year-old girls in the countryside, these tragic events were just another reminder of how precious life is.
She spoke with great love and respect of her friend.
“One thing I will always remember about her is when you see her she just has such a broad smile on her face.
“She’s always cheerful and friendly and the nicest was when she gave that nice deep laugh of hers.
“Erna was a caring person to me; caring in her work she did, caring for the people she worked with, caring for her friends, her family, her husband and her children.
“If I could sum up Erna in a few words it would be stylish, elegant, simple and so so beautiful.”
Bremer thanked the Barrydale in Bloom team under the leadership of Shane Petzer and Helena Joubert for their effort and also expressed his praise to Sister Barend van der Walt of the Clinic as well as his neighbours Louise and Detlef Klapthor who support him so well.
Although he has by no means recovered from this great shock Bremer explained that this gesture should have a very positive effect on him and the community at large.
“Where there is remembrance, there is presence but a tree also speaks of the future, because the tree grows again from new seed, the tree gives new hope, the tree shade to people who are suffering, the tree creates a new environment and a new space where people can live with hope for the future.