Gerda Rowley


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Gerda Rowley, 81, passed away peacefully Tuesday March 7th, 2017 at Tidelands Waccamaw Community Hospital with her beloved husband by her side. She was born in Heidelberg, Germany on the 13th day of January, 1936, the daughter of Freida Weshenmoser Duerr and Emil Duerr. She spent WWII in Heidelberg where, on most nights after dinner, she was carried down to the basement in order to survive any bombs that might have been dropped.

She came to the United States as a teenager, having dismissed the offer to continue her education at the Heidelberg Gymnasium, traveling on a ship that carried the families of our service men and women without speaking or understanding English. While on board, a great number of people got sea sick from the crossing from Germany to the United States, but Gerda prevailed.

After rejoining with her mother and step father, she taught herself the English language and when Ronald met her 2 years after her arrival in the United States, she had an accent and needed a little help with the language, but soon afterward she mastered it. Two years later on June 5, 1957, they married.

Gerda gave birth to 3 strong and smart boys, Mark, Scott and Christopher Rowley, men now, and raised them through the struggle of early married life that most of us have had to endure.

Through all the trials and tribulations of her life and her life with Ronald, she always maintained her sense of humor, and that in itself, is remarkable.

A few years back, after arriving in Pawleys Island, Gerda suffered a stroke from high blood pressure, which greatly impaired her ability to communicate. She went to a rehabilitation center and she worked to regain her ability to speak, which started from having no ability whatever, to being able to carry on a conversation for a short period of time. She still had difficulty with the written word, not in its reading but its writing. As a consequence of her communication impairment, she remained essentially to herself except for an old friend, a Jewish woman, who settled here sometime after Ronald and Gerda. Her friend kept company with Gerda for several years, but was stricken by cancer and passed away last year.

“Gerda is quite a remarkable woman, and the one I have loved since I met her more than 60 years ago, but at 3:30 PM in the afternoon on the 21st day of February, I held her in my arms for the last time while she died. The saddest day in my life. One never truly knows the depth of love for another until that day when their presence is taken away. I take solace in the fact that God swept her away in a split second and, thus, began her journey to her new home in God’s Universe. A place where I hope I reunite with her when my time comes….” -Ronald

She is survived by her husband Ronald E. Rowley, her sons, Mark Rowley of Woodbridge, Virginia, Scott Rowley of Stafford, Virginia, Christopher Rowley of Springfield, Virginia and her granddaughters, Erin Rowley Stoner of Savannah, Georgia, Danielle Rowley of Rincon, Georgia and Samantha Rowley of Rock Hill, South Carolina.

A gathering to celebrate Gerda’s life will take place Tuesday March 14th 2017 at Burroughs Funeral Home (3558 Old Kings Highway, Murrells Inlet, SC) from 12:00PM until 1:00PM.

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Burroughs Funeral Home and Cremation Services (843-651-1440) is assisting the family during this difficult time.