I found this Word document dating back to 2006 in my archives, and in an effort to preserve it I have decided to now post it online. This is the eulogy that I read out at my grandfather’s (father’s father) memorial service just after he passed away.
Willem Adriaan Lotter (26/09/1932 – 27/11/2006) – Eulogy 30/11/2006
Willem Lotter to most of you, Grandpa Lotter to me. I’m standing here today to just say a few words, share a few thoughts about my Grandpa and the life he lived before he finally passed on.
My Gran and Grandpa got married in 1954 and enjoyed 52 years of marriage, enduring both the good and the bad times together – on that note I suppose I’d better include their four sons as a good thing (after all one of them is the reason I’m here). But it was the together part that I want to harp upon. I don’t think Grandpa and Gran ever did things apart – they always stuck together through thick and thin and I think this has been especially noticeable through Grandpa’s final years, when Gran has pulled through the strain and stubbornly stuck by his side no matter what. So for this I want to thank you Gran, thank you for showing all of us just what the bonds of marriage means. You have without a doubt stood by those words uttered so long ago “In sickness and in health, for better and worse, until death do us part.” For that alone I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
But this is about Grandpa and his life. Throughout his life, Grandpa worked to the benefit of those others who could not help themselves. He started his career in psychiatric nursing in his hometown of Grahamstown at the Fort England institute before moving down to the Cape where he continued his good work at both the Stikland and Valkenberg psychiatric hospitals where he eventually became a matron.
Outside of work, Grandpa shared with Gran a love for the great outdoors. For as long as I have known them, Grandpa and Gran never ceased to travel. Almost every weekend they would be in some new location, travelling by trusty caravan or AutoVilla to some far off location, braving wind and rain simply to enjoy the beauties of nature and the company of all their friends in the Tygerberg Caravan Club. And every now and then one of us Grandkids would go along for the ride – and make no mistake, it was always fun!
There is probably ONE word that sums up Grandpa – ‘Mischievous’. When you saw that twinkle in his eye and that small little grin sitting above that ‘bokbaard’ of his, you know you were in for a treat (or trouble if you were his intended target). I remember how he would mercilessly tease Gran or us kids, or pull the funniest pranks and tell the most hilarious jokes. He had a particular trick with his false teeth that always got the better of us when we were little. Grandpa was always a laugh and that is something I’ll never forget. He also made the best pancakes – the largest, most delicious pancakes in the whole wide world)
Grandpa took great interest in us his grandchildren. He would literally spend hours playing with us, be it cricket with his old plastic cricket set or ludo with us taking up all of Gran’s table. We played cards and board games until it came out of our ears! And he always made it treat for us to be there by them.
He really enjoyed his sports and mom and dad involved in good natured battle of either Jukskei, bowls, darts, cards or whatever caught his fancy at that moment. Every Wednesday and Friday night without fail, mom and Gran (The ladies) would take on the men at Canasta, but I’m afraid to say that 90% of the time dad and grumps came out on top.
Grandpa was a stubborn man who did things the way he believed things should be done. I once remember when we were with on a caravanning trip through the Kruger Park how Grandpa insisted on getting out of the car in the middle of a game drive simply to admire the view better and have a cup of coffee. No matter what the rules were or said, Grandpa would insist on staying true to himself.
And that’s the memory I will hold onto of my grandfather: The white-haired mischievous stubborn man with a twinkle in his eye and a grin on his face that always had time and a place in his heart for his family.
And although he may no longer be with us in the flesh, I can picture him even now, sitting somewhere in the veldt under a giant shady tree in his trusty old camp-chair, watching down over us with a great big mug of coffee in his hand.
May you rest in peace Grandpa, you’ve earned it.