Vale Veteran Duncan Dennis van der Sandt
SADF XXXXXX Veteran Dennis van der Sandt, who passed before he could join SAMVOA.
(1971 to 2016)
Vale Veteran Dennis van der Sandt lived from 3rd November, 1971 to 1st December, 1971, just 45 years into life and shortly after moving with his family to Australia. He was on the verge of joining SAMVOA when he suddenly took very ill.
Thank you for your service, Dennis.
Lest we Forget
Pastor Sally Ansell
Eulogy by Veteran Andre van der Berg.
Duncan Dennis van der Sandt passed away, unexpectedly on the 01st December 2016. He was 45-Years-old.
The reason we’re here today is twofold. We want to take comfort in one another after the passing of Dennis, but it’s important for us to remember that though we grieve, we also should celebrate his life. I’m having a hard time imagining mine without him in it. He was a brother-in-law in name, but really a brother to me. I’ve been privileged to have known him since we met.
The Eulogy of Duncan Dennis van der Sandt, also referred to as Dennis or in my case, Swarrie.
Duty, decency, reliability, honor, dignity and respect: these are all qualities that Dennis not only held in high esteem, but practiced every day during his time on this earth. He was a loving man, but he could never resist the opportunity to have a laugh with friends and loved ones, given half the chance.
Dennis saw a lot during his lifetime: a country ravaged by violence and murder, working as a detective in the South African Police Services from 1995 to 2003. He was a Crime Scene Investigator that investigated several cases, with unspeakable horrified memories, that you could never see behind the smile on his face. I had the privilege to hear some of the stories he never shared with others.
Dennis was born on 03rd November 1971 in Edenvale, Johannesburg, South Africa.
My family and I had the opportunity to meet his mother, Florence van der Sandt and father, Hans van der Sandt in December 2015. I am convinced that you can’t meet more loving people than these 2 individuals. They are down to earth people that will help you even if they do not know you. We were treated as family from the word go.
Dennis was one of 4 Children, with an older brother Dawie younger late sister Ansie and youngest brother Corrie.
Dennis has 3 lovely children, Dennis Duncan (22 Years Old), Danielle (20 Years Old), and Chantelle (15 Years Old). Dennis Jnr and Chantelle are present today with us in Australia, while Danielle is still in South Africa with his parents. Danielle is now 6 months pregnant and from my experience how Dennis treated and spoiled my Granddaughter, Carley, Danielle would have had her hands full to keep him away from, his expected grandson. We have more photos of Dennis with my granddaughter, Carley than she has with me, and that is the type of loving personality he had. We had to fight to have a turn for attention when he was around Carley, but he was more than willing to share her when she had a number 2 and throwing up.
Dennis met my Sister-in-law, Anna Susana Catharina Mc Clintock, sorry Sus, I had to do that…..also known as Sumarie, in a Pub in Phalaborwa on the 24th of October 2012. For our Australian friends and work colleagues, Phalaborwa is like the Australian outback, very hot and forgotten. During our visit to South Africa in December 2015, we had a day where the temperature reached 50 Degree Celsius. At 8PM that night, the temperature dropped to around 45 Degree Celsius, and Swarrie mentioned with a straight face…. I think the heat has broken now.
Dennis and Sue got married on 26th July 2013, 9 months after they met. This is a testimony of destiny, if you meet your Soul mate you know, and that was the case for Dennis and Sue. Dennis was introduced to Annamie, Sue’s daughter on the 26th October 2012 (2 days after they met), and Sue was introduced to Dennis’s children on the 2nd of November 2012 (9 days after they met). The children clicked and two families became one, almost like a hostile takeover.
My family and I met Dennis via Skype in 2012, after we relocated to Australia. Swarrie and I became like brothers and had a lot in common. We were so similar, that I had to trace my family tree, to see if we were not related.
Since their relocation to Australia on the 07th of May 2016, Swarrie and I were inseparable. We were like battery and Torch, or Twiddle Dee and Twiddle Dum, and for the Afrikaners like “Kettie and Klip”. We saw each other on a daily basis, and had a lot of projects to stay in each other’s company. The two sisters Sue and Daleen tried once to keep us apart for a while, because they were not included to play in our sand box… This did not work at all
Swarrie taught me several life skills.
Life Skill 1: Plumbing
While visiting in South Africa in 2015, he taught me how to do plumbing on a farm. We had to make a water hole for the cattle and he used an old bath and toilet mechanism, to fill the bath with drinking water when empty. We build a bush shower and several other water projects. Mc Giver would have been proud to learn what swarrie could do with pliers and wire.
Life Skill 2: Enjoy Life
He also tough me to laugh and have fun, although he was the one rolling around on the ground when I got shocked by the electrical fence.
Life Skill 3: Cheap Labour
While on holiday, we had to get up at 05:00AM to pack Ice for the Local Store. This took a team of 10 around 2 hours to complete. Working with ice cubes at 05:00 in the morning is not one of my favored memories. I said Cheap Labour, but I made a mistake. This was FREE Labour
Life Skill 4: Speak your Mind
He told Sue and Annamie on a daily basis that he loved them, and so when he was on skype with his children. I asked him 1 day why does he do that, will it not loose meaning if he says that every day. His reply: Swarrie, you can never say enough that you love someone, and they can never enough hear that you love them, so let them know.
SAMVOA has a saying: “Lest we forget”, and Dennis will always be in our hearts and our thoughts so I will remember him till my last breath.
Poem by Eslyn van der Sandt.
You made us laugh, you were such fun
Our hearts are broken; We can't believe you are gone
You've left our lives, will we ever laugh again
Now that you've left us, who will we call "Den"
You had a witty tongue and quick thinking mind
No matter the occasion a funny comment you'd find
A beloved husband, Father, Brother, Son and Friend
Our lives have been shattered, our tears have no end.
If your help was needed, you never said no
No matter the effort with cheerful smile you would go
In the middle of the night or no matter the distance
With a joke or two you would be of assistance
How it breaks our hearts to say good-bye
Our minds fill with memories as we sit here and cry
Yet a smile can be seen every now and then
When a story is told of our precious "Den"
A word of Thanks.
Andre, Daleen and Leandrie, thank you for doing the bits I just did not have the energy for. I really appreciate it. I know it is hard for you too, and there is a void in your hearts I cannot make better.
My children here with me, Dennis Jnr., Annamie and Chantelle, you are my life. and much stronger than me, thank you for the continues support, love and care. Danielle and Marko, although you are on a different continent, I love you and really do appreciate your constant messages of encouragement.
When I moved to Australia I knew I had family here, but nothing could prepare me for the love and support I would get from my Red Rock Family.
Thank you all, for remembering the simple things, food delivered to my doorstep, visits with your complete family, I really enjoyed having your doggy children around. The thought that I am not just a number on the Payroll, but part of a Family, really made a difference in this difficult time.
To everyone present, thank you for your attendance and support
Sumarie van der Sandt.