Merlyn De Vos
Merlyn De Vos, 86, of Madison, passed away peacefully surrounded by family on Oct. 2. Merlyn was born Aug. 7, 1937, in Cape Town, South Africa, to Alfred and Maude Brown and was the youngest of five children.
She was the beloved wife of Tertius De Vos. Although their marriage was only 13 years before he passed away at the young age of 42, he remained the love of her life. She was an amazing mother to her daughters, Tertia Trowbridge and Monique Meehan. Merlyn grew up in Cape Town, spending wonderful years with her siblings and parents, visiting the beautiful beaches, camping, and hosting parties at their home with family and friends. She was very proud of her father, who was an officer of the British Royal Navy. After graduating from high school, she worked as a tax preparer and later as a tax consultant for the Board of Executors.
When Merlyn married her husband at 29 years old, she embarked on an adventure of a lifetime, traveling the world with him. They spent the first five years of their marriage in Asia, first in South Korea and then Japan, where they had both of their children. In 1974, they moved to the United States, settling in Westport, and became United States citizens. In 1979, they moved to Sydney, Australia, where they lived for two years before her husband suddenly passed away. Always focused on the wellbeing of her children, Merlyn selflessly returned to the US to raise her daughters, returning to the home in Westport, where she lived until moving to Madison in May 2002. Merlyn had such a zest for life, always bringing humor and laughter wherever she went. She loved hosting friends for dinner, and her Boxing Day party was a joyful tradition for many years. Always elegant, with a beautiful home and great fashion sense, she loved the many years that she worked at Talbots. She brought these gifts to organizing fashion shows, first for New Neighbors in Westport and later for the Women’s Club in Madison, where she also enjoyed playing bridge and being part of the walking group and book club. Merlyn told great stories of her childhood and time living in different countries. She loved music, especially jazz, bossa nova, and Frank Sinatra, and used to dance in the living room with her husband and taught both of her daughters to dance. True to her British roots, she enjoyed a cup of Twinings tea after lunch, and as a true South African, she loved a nightly glass of Pinot noir for an evening “sundowner.” Merlyn loved her family deeply and supported and celebrated us all. She would tell everyone about her family, and as the family grew, the stories grew because all of us were included in what she had to share. She made an impression on so many people and will be deeply missed.
Merlyn was predeceased by her husband, parents, sisters Babs and Lola, and brother Ken. She is survived by her brother Valentine; daughters, Monique (Paul) Meehan of Groton, Massachusetts, and Tertia (Rick) Trowbridge of Madison; her granddaughters, Isabella Meehan, Makaila Meehan and Phoebe Trowbridge; and her step-grandsons, Alex Trowbridge and Ryan Trowbridge, his wife Emily and their son Rowan; as well as many nieces and nephews.
Family and friends are invited to a service of remembrance and celebration at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 28, at the First Congregational Church in Madison. Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.swanfuneralhomemadison.com for the De Vos family. Our family would like to thank the kind and compassionate nursing teams at St. Raphael’s Step-down and Comfort Care units for their love and support during Merlyn’s last days.