Hermien “Miena” Marais Lassiter passed away due to cancer on Tuesday, November 12, 2019 in her home with her beloved husband Ronald “Ron” Lawrence Lassiter and stepdaughter, Kristan Adams Lassiter. She was receiving in-home hospice in Billings, Montana. She was only 57 years old and had been battling breast cancer since 2014.
Miena was born on March 5, 1962 in Robertson, South Africa. She was the beloved daughter of Jacobus Daniel Marais (deceased) and Anna Aletta Van Graan Marais. She was also a beloved sister and aunt to her siblings and numerous nieces and nephews. Her siblings include: Annalie Aletta Marais Van de Merve, Ernst Jacobus Marais (deceased), Ellen Johanna Marais De Villiers and Willem Marais.
Miena would be the first person in her family to work and live outside the continent of Africa. She was educated in Robertson from Kindergarten through High School and then at Western Cape College of Nursing in Paarl, South Africa in 1982. Following one year of training at Tygerberg Hospital, she was awarded a degree in General Nursing in 1983. She was certified as a Midwife in 1984, certified as a Registered Psychiatric Nurse in 1989, she then went on to earn a certificate in Community Nursing Science in 1991 as well as certification upon examination as a Registered Nurse in 1991.
Upon completion of her college work, she resided in Brackenfell, South Africa until going overseas to work as the Head Nurse in Labor and Delivery in Al Jubail, Saudi Arabia. She then worked for several years in Abu Dhabi UAE as a staff Midwife in the 235-bed hospital specializing in Obstetrics and Gynecology. She worked in the delivery suite as well as pre and postnatal wards. She then returned to Saudi Arabia to work at the Armed Forces Hospital at King Abdul-Aziz Naval base.
Miena and Ron met through friends in a fun ex-pats group in the Middle East and were married on July 12, 2003 in Simons Town, South Africa. In 2006, she moved with Ron to Billings, Montana. While in Billings, after qualifying under the American Standards of Nursing, she worked in the Family Birth Center in Billings Clinic Hospital as a Registered Nurse and volunteer which continued even during her cancer treatments.
Hermien is often referred to as a bright light who brought a spirit of fun and empathy to every situation. She was always helping others both professionally and personally. She was very generous, thoughtful, loving and forgiving with a great sense of humor. She smiled, laughed and walked extremely quickly! She was a voracious reader of books, magazines and her bible. She was an accomplished cook and baker. She loved knitting. Most especially she enjoyed her family, neighbors and friends. She liked having folks over for dinners as well as morning and afternoon teas. Her favorite pastime beyond traveling was camping in Yellowstone Park or staying in a cabin on the Stillwater River in Montana. While she enjoyed visiting other states and various national parks, she found Montana to be especially beautiful and was delighted to live here. Hermien was an exceptional person and wife in all respects.
Hermien is survived by her husband of 16 years, Ron Lassiter of Billings, Montana and stepdaughter, Kristan Lassiter and stepson-in-law, John Hempill who live in New York City and Wellington, Florida; her mother, Anna Aletta Van Graan Marais of Bonnievale, South Africa, sisters Annalie Marais Van de Merve of Paarl, South Africa, Ellen Johanna De Villiers of Cape Town, South Africa and brother Willem Marais of Pretoria, South Africa. There are too many spouses, nephews, nieces, cousins and friends to list here but they are all beloved. Hermien was predeceased by her father, Jacobus Daniel Marais on September 12, 2012 and her eldest brother Ernst Jacobus Marais on October 10, 2019.
The Service and Celebration of Life for Miena will be held this Friday, November 15, 2019 at 2pm (tea-time) in room 512. Please use the Broadwater entrance at Faith Chapel in Billings, Montana.
Attire is casual.
Pastor Steve Poetzl will preside over the service and, at the celebration of life after, attendees are encouraged to share favorite stories and memories of Miena.