Auriel to slow down her pace at age 82

Auriel Wittert with her daughter, Helene Smookler.

A few weeks short of her 82nd birthday, Auriel Wittert retired from what was a very demanding full-time job.

As the voice and face of Rand Aid Association’s Elphin Lodge and Ron Smith Care Centre Complex, Auriel projected professionalism and efficiency. Smartly turned out and beautifully spoken, she manned her reception desk very much like a captain steering a tight ship.

Before starting with Rand Aid in 2009, Auriel was living at Elphin Lodge but working in Linbro Park. It was during the construction of the Gautrain and the commute was tedious. “It took one-and-a-half hours to drive 12kms,” she remembers.

With her late husband then being cared for at Ron Smith Care Centre on the grounds of Elphin Lodge, getting home in time to visit him was becoming increasingly difficult. Then a snippet in the village’s weekly bulletin caught her eye. An assistant was sought to work in the village shop.

She applied but did not get the job. What she was offered instead was a part-time receptionist position. A year later, the full-time receptionist retired and Auriel accepted a promotion and started working a full day.

“I can tell you that I’m going to miss the staff and residents very, very much,” said Auriel before the mega farewell bash organised to bid her farewell.

She won’t be sitting idle at home, however.

“I’m doing voluntary work two afternoons a week at a gift shop in Durham Street, Sydenham, run by Yad Aharon, one of the Jewish charities.

“Once a week I’m going to water aerobics and I’ve already made two bookings to go to ballet performances. I also have a wish list of day tours I have always wanted to do,” says Auriel.

Then there is gardening – which she loves, cake icing – a hobby of hers, and a host of books and movies she has been wanting to get through.

“I’ve also told Rand Aid that should they need me to do relief work at any time, I’ll do so with pleasure.”

“Auriel has been a true asset who has epitomises efficiency and professionalism,” says Helen Petrie, Elphin Lodge Complex Manager.

Auriel’s colleagues Tanya Switala, Avril Maltman, Helen Petrie and Suzie Webber.

Auriel Wittert reacting to the staff’s little skit about a day in her work-life.

Auriel Wittert plans to keep busy but sleep a little later, now that she has retired.

Auriel Wittert’s family attended her farewell: Daughter Helene Smookler; and the Blumenthal family: Micah (great grandson), grand-daughter Tanna and husband Steven, and Leanne and Hayley (great grand-daughters).


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