I met Merryl many years ago, around 1995/6, through Morningside Toastmasters and we became friendly. At that time, I was newly single and living in a townhouse in Buccleuch, and she was a single mom living in a flat just off Joe Slovo Drive on the border of Yeoville and Doornfontein, with her young son, who must have been around 5 at that time.
The one memory of her that stands out in my mind demonstrated just how generous and giving she was. At that time, I couldn’t afford to buy a computer and spoke often of this longing. Merryl offered to give me an old computer of hers, which she then did. I collected it from her, but wasn’t able to get it to work well, so eventually gave it back to her. A year or so later, I was able to buy a computer, and that set me off on the path I now am, away from teaching as I then was, and into writing and developing training materials. If it wasn’t for that kind gesture of hers, I may not have taken that route.
Not long after that I moved to another Toastmasters Club, we both led very busy lives, and we lost contact, but I never forgot her and how generous, kind, thoughtful and giving she was.
Over the years, after I had left Toastmasters, I would hear through Toastmaster friends about how well she was doing and how she had moved through the ranks. Last year, when I heard that she had been elected District Director, I contacted Merryl to congratulate her. I last saw her on a Zoom Toastmasters meeting at Woodmead North, as I had recently re-joined Toastmasters after a hiatus of a number of years. She was still as charming as ever, as warm and friendly and it was great to make contact once more.
Toastmasters, as well as Merryl’s family and friends, have lost a wonderful person, a dedicated leader, who always put others before herself, now gone before her time. My heartfelt condolences to all whom she loved and who loved her.