After a long and courageous battle with cancer, Louretha Martin passed away from this world and entered the presence of her Lord and Savior March 25, 2013.
Born in Richmond, South Africa April 6, 1947 to Fred and Suzanne van der Merwe, Louretha van der Merwe was raised on her family's sheep ranch in the Karoo. At the age of six she went off to boarding school at Union High where she excelled in field hockey and eventually was named Head Girl in her senior year. After graduation she made the fateful decision to do an exchange year with American Field Service. She was placed in Felton, Calif. to attend San Lorenzo Valley High School. Within the first month she had met her future husband and the love of her life, Cal Martin. Cal and Louretha were married in Cape Town, South Africa January 4, 1969 and moved afterward to San Luis Obispo, Calif. Their first child, a daughter Lisa, was born in 1972 in San Luis Obispo and son Ryan was born in 1975 after they moved to Medford, Ore.
Louretha was involved in many different groups and activities in the Rogue Valley including Bible Study Fellowship, 55 Live, and Junior Service League. Her favorite place to be in the valley was Applegate Christian Fellowship where she was a fixture for over 30 years. She was best known among her many friends for her fabulous accent, wise words, and amazing bread.
Louretha was preceded in death by her father, Fred van der Merwe, and her son, Ryan Martin. In addition to her husband, she is survived by her mother, Suzanne van der Merwe; sisters, Marina White, Freda van der Merwe, and Zunene Goosen; brothers-in-law, John White and Marius Goosen, of South Africa; daughter, Lisa and her husband, John Harrison, of Scottsdale, Ariz.; and grandchildren, Max, Claire, and Owen. Also, adopted children, Brian and Carien Jordaan and Hein and Emily van Vyk and their children.
Special thanks to the oncology ward staff at RVMC, the staff at Dubs Infusion, Providence Hospice, and, for his excellent and loving care through the end, to Dr. Brett Poisson and the staff at Hematology and Oncology Associates of Medford.
A memorial service is planned for Thursday, March 28, 2013 at Applegate Christian Fellowship at 12:00 p.m., all are welcome. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the ACF handicapped orphanage in Mexico at: The Mission, PO Box 1090, Jacksonville, Ore. 97530.