Well-known Couple dies

Marlene Gillings. Photos: Melkbos.net

Marlene and Roy Gillings died on the same day; just like Romeo and Juliet. They were familiar faces in Melkbosstrand. Witty, resilient Marlene who worked as a car guard, and her husband Roy who had such trouble walking.

It seems fitting that the day of their death started out white and overcast; that it started out as a sad sort of day.

Roy was in constant pain as he needed a hip replacement.

Marlene died on the corner of Otto du Plessis and 11th Avenue around 11 o’ clock this morning. Medics tried to revive her but it was too late. Roy, who was the sickly one of the two as far as people knew, and who was in constant pain as he needed a hip replacement, also died this morning.

I met them a few years ago, shortly after they got their brick and mortar house at number 36 in Olive Close, after spending years in a shack in the bush behind the Birkenhead Center. (I used to have a photo of Roy reclining in a white porcelain tub in the bush, but unfortunately I’ve lost it.)

The pink bib
Marlene invited me into their home and told me her life story. It was one of great hardship. She had started out as a bookkeeper in Newcastle only to end up penniless and without her children. In the end she was reunited with them. She also retained her sense of humor. She loved reading and she learnt to make jewellery. She did this energetically, but was unable to sell the jewellery and Roy complained that there was no space left in the house because of her handiwork! In the last year his health took a turn for the worse. He had great trouble walking, and could not think of growing jalapeño peppers and cabbage behind the house anymore as he used to, as just getting out of bed was a mission.

It was a period of calm for them, here in Olive Close. Thanks to the money Marlene made as car guard they could afford chicken for dinner. She was fiercely protective of that car guard job, and of her pink bib, and of everything it stood for. It meant more than just having money for chicken. It meant that she was needed. And so she did not mind standing in the sun, since she told me that she loved the sun, and could always (and did) take the book that she was busy reading, with her! Rest in peace, Marlene and Roy. We will miss you.

Melkbosstrand CPF announced their deaths as follow: “It is with sadness that we confirm the deaths of Marlene Gillings and her partner, Roy, today. They were well known and loved in the community. Details of a memorial service will be posted as soon as all legal procedures has been finalised. May they rest in peace.”



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