Community builder Annelize Jerling sorely missed

Annelize Jerling with her nephews and nieces, from left, Claire van Schanke, Gary Loest, on her lap Jaime Loest and, right, Luke Jerling
MUCH LOVED: Annelize Jerling with her nephews and nieces, from left, Claire van Schanke, Gary Loest, on her lap Jaime Loest and, right, Luke Jerling
Image: Supplied

A community servant with a heart of gold.

Those were the words used by family and friends to describe the late Annelize Jerling, who died on Sunday evening.

The businesswoman and 2014 finalist of The Herald GM Citizen of the Year Award died on her way to  hospital, travelling from her home in Central.

Jerling, 56,  owned a catering and events planning company and was well known for her contribution to the development and growth of Eastern Province Athletics (EPA).

She was a financial director of Algoa Security, ran a number of charities and also served on the Community Police Forum in Central as well as the Humewood police station’s Victim Support Centre (VSC).

Her younger sister, Rhonel Loest, said she would be remembered for her kindness and for always putting the needs of others first.

Loest said Jerling was a strong person, who between running many businesses including charity projects had little time for herself.

“We received a call from one of her colleagues [on Sunday afternoon] that she was unreachable.

“My husband and brother went to check up on her and when they got there she was in a deep sleep, an ambulance was called and she was rushed to the hospital with my brother and husband driving behind, but unfortunately  she died on the way,” she said.

She added that the family would remember her for her kindness and sympathy to people and for always being there for everyone.

An old friend, associate and EPA stalwart, Alec Riddle, said he had known Jerling since the 1970s, and for the past several years she had been one of the most incredible people he had come across, with a good heart.

“Annelize’s passing has been very sad and difficult. She had passion for athletes and worked very hard making sure they get recognition in our society.”

He said it was sad that she had died during the hard times of Covid-19 with stringent restrictions on gatherings that might prohibit them from conducting a big memorial service to honour her life.

“This is difficult and would be worse for her family, but when things go back to normal it would be great for EPA to organise a memorial service for her,” he said.

Former business partner and friend Michelle Riddle said Jerling was a hard worker who would not allow anything to stand in the way of what she wanted to achieve.

She said Jerling was loved by everyone and “everything she touched blossomed”.

“I nominated her for The Herald Citizen of the Year awards because of her selfless heart and desire to always be there for everyone, and I knew that she was well deserving  of such an honour,” she said.

“I am deeply hurt by her passing. Ever since I moved to Stellenboch, we were always making plans that we would see each other and that never happened, but I hope she rests in peace.”

Jerling leaves two siblings and four nieces and nephews. She will be laid to rest on Friday at a private funeral.

Loest said the exact cause of her death had yet to be verified.