Loving teacher and coach dies in car accident

Danie and Lizelle Willemse.

WHITE RIVER – Danie (49) was on his way home from Mbombela when he collided with an oncoming vehicle in the Rocky Drift area. The circumstances and exact cause of the accident are unknown at this stage.

 
According to Strini Ramea from Hi-Tech Medical Services, who were on the scene along with ER 24 and Emer-G-Med, he was declared dead on the scene.

 
The occupant of the other vehicle involved sustained minor injuries.
Danie leaves behind his wife Lizelle and three children, Ruann (25), Danelle (21) and Danie (10).

Danie Willemse.

Ruann said his dad was a strong man and the perfect example of a husband for his wife, a father for his children and a friend for the thousands of people he came in contact with.

“He was my hero, my source of advice and a shoulder to cry on. The values my father taught me will give me strength through these hard times.

READ ALSO: Vyf klasse vol splinternuwe gesiggies by Laerskool Witrivier.

“From our family’s side, I want to thank everyone for all the support that we have received in this difficult time. It just shows the great impact he had on the community.

“Daddy, you were a rock for me, Danelle, Danie and mom. You and I had a conversation once about the legacy a person leaves behind when the time comes and I can definitely say that you have left a huge legacy, setting an impeccable standard in your work, lifestyle and family. Your legacy will live on forever.”

 
“It feels like a really big tree has fallen in a forest, leaving a huge gap that cannot be filled,” said Alex Jonker, a colleague and friend.
“He was my mentor and taught me how to be a man. He was like a second dad to me,” a teary Jonker said.

 
“He was the backbone of our family and we all looked up to him. We will miss him dearly,” said Danie’s sister-in law, Somari Basson. “He loved my sister very much,” Basson said. “They were the type of couple that you see in the movies, and set an example for all of us.”
They were married for 21 years.

Danie and Lizelle Willemse.

“Danie was at his happy place with his friends and family in front of the fire. He was not the kind of guy that would pick a fight with others, and while mourning his death we all joked that we should not cry because Danie did not like crying. He loved cricket and rugby and it was a joy to watch sport with him,” said Basson, adding that she got her passion for teaching from him.

 
Frannie van der Riet, principal of White River Primary School, said the school is still in shock over Danie’s death.

 
“He was a wonderful person to work with and he will be dearly missed. He touched the lives of tons of people and we have received overwhelming support from all over the community,” Van der Riet said.

 
Danie was a teacher at Laerskool Witrivier for about 14 years, and was deputy principal for about eight. He also coached cricket, rugby and athletics at the school and was the deputy chairman of the Pumas league for primary schools.

 
“We loved to watch sport with Danie because he was passionate about it. Cricket was his favourite sport and he coached all the children of our family,” Basson said.

READ ALSO: Laerskool Witrivier se slimkoppe raap trofeë op

 
Danie was described as a loving father, family man, teacher and coach and his death left many in tears.

 
Social media was also busy with people sending condolences from all over the country. Elma Jordaan wrote, “Rest in peace Danie. You were a good teacher and you meant a lot to both of my sons.”

 
Tumela Mathipa wrote, “May his soul rest in peace. My condolences with his family.”

Danie Willemse.

Samantha Engle wrote that it was a sad loss for all while Rupert Buytendach wished God’s blessings on his family.
The details of the memorial service and the funeral will be announced at a later stage.

  AUTHOR
Arisa Janse van Rensburg
Journalist

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