Kraaifontein couple die days apart after recently celebrating 70th wedding anniversary
By Shakirah Thebus 10m ago
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Cape Town – A Kraaifontein couple who recently celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary and were featured in the Cape Argus died just days apart.
Only the death of the wife was confirmed as caused by Covid-19.
Pastor Benjamin George Freeman, 92, and Dora Freeman, 93, celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in November 2020.
Daughter Lizette Louw, 57, from Kuilsriver said her father died just hours after having celebrated his 92nd birthday at their Rembrandt Street, Scottsville home on New Year's Day.
“My dad passed away five-and-a-half hours after his birthday, in the early morning of the first of January. It was from old age, I would say.”
Eleven days after her father's death and three days after his funeral, her mother passed away at Karl Bremer Hospital at 9.45pm on Monday.
“After my father’s passing, she said she wanted to go home to him. Her face dropped and she wasn't the same any more. She is (usually) a very happy person with a smile on her face. She passed away of sadness and didn't want to be around anymore.”
The hospital informed the family that her mother’s cause of death had been Covid-19 pneumonia. The pair were not tested for Covid-19 prior to their passing.
She said, although the family was not taking their death well, they were grateful that their parents had lived a beautiful life.
“They had a full life. They were never sick. They were not a couple that was looked after. We didn't have parents that we needed to nurse. They were happy,” she said.
“It's like when two of the most beautiful flowers are taken out of your garden. Our sunshine is gone. That is how we are experiencing it.”
She said her parents were well loved by many, and reciprocated that love.
“My father was forever working in places where nobody wanted to work, believing there were diamonds there.”
The couple first crossed paths as singers from different church choirs in 1950. They tied the knot five months after their first meeting.
Soon after marrying, Benjamin George was struggling with alcoholism and Dora intended to divorce him.
“When he was 25-27, someone came to his house, and in his drunken state he gave his life to the Lord; since then everything changed. Their love story was with the Lord. Their love story was about their love for God and their love for people. It was more than the two of them or the family,” she said.
“Not one of their children fill their shoes. I don't see it often in people, but they used every cent of their money for community work.”
Around five years ago, the pair purchased a property in suburban Delft to transform it into a children’s care centre and day-care centre. Their children are now determined to see their parents’ dream realised.
The pair had 10 children, 19 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. On January 3, Dora was comforted with the news of her first great-great-grandchild ‒ a baby boy.
“She forced the hand of God to take her away. She just laid in bed all day. I told the mother to bring the baby. It was so beautiful to see how this child brought something back, something that she needed.”
Pastor Raymond le Fleur, who grew up in the church at which the couple ministered, said the pair encouraged and inspired many to enter ministry, and even after retiring, Pastor Freeman would continue.
“I think the one thing that stands out for me is their unselfish, sacrificial commitment to ministering until the end of their days.”
Founder of Red Ribbon Foundation Dorian Basson said: “A love story like this does not come along every day and therefore their legacy should be celebrated. The community of Scottsville have indeed lost a beacon of hope, faith and love which the Freemans represented to all who loved them.”