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Lorraine E. Van der Merwe: 1937-2018


Last updated 1/17/2019 at Noon

Lorraine E. Van der Merwe, who died Dec. 30, 2018, is survived by her beloved husband William (Bill) Van der Merwe; daughters Avril Van der Merwe, Desiree Van der Merwe, Jo-Anne Van der Merwe, and Joy Van Gend; son-in-law Johannes Van Gend; grandchildren Kirstin Van Gend, and Justin and Melanie Van Gend; and niece Beverley Van der Merwe.

Lorraine was born Lorraine Rowlands on Dec. 20, 1937, and raised in South Africa, where she married Bill and raised four children. She and Bill immigrated to the United States in 1996.

She was known for her lovely smile, sense of fun and adventure and, most of all, her lifelong service to the Lord, ministering alongside her husband in pastoral work and worship ministry in both South Africa and the United States.

She loved and responded to worship music to the end.

She was also the first, and at the time, the only woman in South Africa to complete the examinations qualifying her as an insurance surveyor assessing fire and insurance risk for industrial properties. Her examination results surpassed those of her male colleagues!

She loved cars and driving, and this job, at which she excelled, provided her with a company car and necessitated her driving all over the greater Johannesburg area, at times into quite dangerous areas.

Lorraine loved reading and was seldom to be seen without a book. As a mother of young children, she constantly supplied her daughters with books and took them on frequent trips to the library. Later, as she aged, it became the task of her daughters to return the favor and keep her supplied with books to read!

She also relished road trips, reveling in countryside and coastline.

For all of her daughters’ growing years, she sewed both her own clothes and theirs. Later in life she took up quilting, producing some beautiful pieces.

Above all, Lorraine loved her family. She was fiercely loyal to her beloved Bill, and remained protective of and caring toward her children and grandchildren throughout her life. Her words, “Be safe!” and “Call me when you get there!” continue to ring in our ears!

She was never happier than when surrounded by family.

We will miss her always, but rejoice that she is in the presence of the Lord she loved all her life: “In Your presence is fullness of joy” (Psalm 16:11).

A memorial service is at 12:30 p.m. Jan. 19 at Westgate Chapel in Edmonds.


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