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Obituary Joan Jones 1922-2018

June 5, 2018

Joan Jones, nee Miller, 9 July 1922 – 8 May 2018

My aunt, Joan Jones sadly passed away recently. Joan, was married to my Dad’s brother Allan.

Unfortunately, I only met Joan a couple of times, and that was in recent years. I didn’t know her at all, in my younger years that I can remember. Even though I can’t claim to have known Joan well, I came to know her as a person with a great sense of humour who was committed to her family. In the last couple of years, I really enjoyed following her on Facebook as she was out and about having fun with her family.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, standing

The following obituary was written by Joan’s son Eric, and presented at her funeral.  Eric has really done his mother proud in writing an obituary that shows her beautiful spirit as well as her love for her family.

“I discussed this day with Mum earlier this year and she told me that she was not afraid but did not want anybody to be sad. If mum said that she did not want anybody to be sad that is exactly what she meant. So we have to try.

For myself, I thought that I had lost the unconditional love of a mother. But today that love feels the same as it did last week and as it has for the last 55 years. So it is not because Mum is alive that we feel her love it is because she lived and that will never change unless we forget her. That won’t happen.

And what a life!

Mum had a tough childhood which I am going to skip over. When she was teenager, Mum lived in Seymour with her sister; our Aunty Soph. She was the one constant in Mum’s life and they loved each other dearly.
They used to catch the train from Seymour to Tallarook to go dancing. Few people are alive to remember those days so we can only imagine the steam train puffing through the countryside in the late 1930’s. Everybody would have been well dressed in a beautiful clean carriage of polished wood and leather and with a uniformed conductor and tea lady pushing her trolley down the aisle. Mum was lucky to live in those days.

The Second World War was a tragedy for most of the planet but it was a great time for Mum in Melbourne. For the first time, because there was work for everyone, she had money in her pocket. And all those men in uniform to dance with. She loved the colour and energy of those early war years.

Dancing with Dad started our family in Richmond. Like today Richmond had lots of little houses but with big families where children ran through each other’s homes and played on the street. Ted and Billy tell me about those days and the great sense of community. It must have been a time of great optimism in the boom years of the 50s although the loss of 2 year old Barry to Polio probably strained Mum and Dad’s marriage forever

The family moved out to Glenroy in the early 60s and split 10 years later with Me, Wendy and Vicki coming with Mum to South Australia. It did not take long before everybody else in Melbourne drifted over to Gawler, even Dad in the end!
Mum was magnetic and drew people to her.

For mum, life kept getting better and she was in good health. She took her first flight in her 60s to Townsville and regularly travelled to visit family. She was never interested in travelling overseas or even in Australia just for the sake of sightseeing. To mum there was never a point in travelling unless there was family to visit.

Places and things simply held no appeal for Mum. She saw the snow for the first and only time in Canberra – there was some slight interest but she was more concerned with getting a pot of pea soup cooked before she went back to Gawler.

Mum bought her own home at 78 and at the time may have been the oldest recipient of the first home buyers grant in the country. That purchase gave her a lot of pride, comfort and real independence for the first time.

I want to backtrack a bit here to talk about the medals displayed behind me. They are for service during WW2. Mum didn’t like the Army at all and felt that her service was of no consequence. The fact is that she put herself at government disposal and they could have sent her wherever they wanted to when the war was right on our shores. She earned those medals.

More remarkable was her service to the military out of uniform.

Something that I did not know until last week is that Mum worked as domestic help for the US Army in 1942. They wanted to take her with them which would have been island hopping towards Japan but regulations did not allow an Australian civilian to join them. On her reference letter she was described as having a “quiet and unassuming nature” The Americans got that right 76 years ago – That was Mum in a nutshell –
Quiet and unassuming.

Mum was discharged for “Family Reasons” with Ted being the family reason and born in 1944. Mum raised Ted alone, supporting Dad while he was fighting the Japanese in New Guinea. Mum had to carry on with the constant fear of losing her husband and having to raise a child on her own.

25 years later Ted and Bonnie went to war in Vietnam. I can’t image how Mum could sleep at night knowing that first one son, then another was fighting for his life so far away. And double that despair when Bonnie was killed in a car accident upon returning home while Ted was still in the Vietnamese jungle.

Loris also joined the Army but with Vicki’s death in 1976 the time was not right and she left after 58 days which can be added to Mum’s military support along with my 20 years in the Airforce.

Those medals represent 60 years of service, sacrifice and support to this country. She earned them.

Getting back to Mums later life. We had a great 80th birthday celebration at the Gawler Arms Hotel in 2002. Life was still going well for mum in her early 80s.

Mum was diagnosed with cancer of the uterus when she was 84. They were tough days, she beat it but it took a lot of energy from her. She managed one more trip to Melbourne to visit me and Bridget before her travelling days were over. Much of her time was then spent relaxing in the garden at Ey Grove with her birds and fish.

At 92 Mum developed bowel cancer. While she survived major surgery to again beat the cancer, the time had come where she needed full time care and she left Ey Grove after 42 years.

That she could stay in her own home until 92 is just fantastic and was only possible because Ian maintained a home for her and did everything he could to make her comfortable.

Luckily for Mum she found herself in Bellevue Court. Mum could not believe that she would be living in such luxury but it was the people rather than the building that gave mum such dignity in her final years.

The staff are with us today which is not part of their job, they are here for the same reason as the rest of us, they were drawn in by Mum’s love. I want to thank you all on behalf of the family. You will never be forgotten.

During her time in Bellevue Court Mum had one more tragedy to go through when Sue and Wolf lost Melanie. That took the wind out of Mum’s sails; she would have swapped places with Melanie in a heartbeat.

Last week nature took its course and we lost Mum, Nana, Great Nana, Aunty Joan, Mrs Jones, Joan or Joany.

We are lucky that we had until she was 95. And that is because of one person.

Just like I saw Rhonda do with her Dad in Townsville, Wendy devoted herself to Mum in her final years. Mum never complained so it was Wendy who knew when Mum was not right and knew what to do. I have no doubt that we would have been here 10 years ago if not for Wendy.

Of course Wendy needed a rock and that was Andre.

Mum leaves a legacy of 8 grandchildren, Melanie, Brett, Renee, Nikki, Luke, Robert, Ryan and Megan, and 10 great grandchildren, Lauren, Seth, Sophie, Will, Bailey, Maddie, Harry, Sophie, Josh and Callie. Then there is Julie, Michael, Rachel, Jess, Jason and Richard who have joined our family.

Finally there is no way that we will leave here without the sadness that Mum did not want us to have. So please join us afterward over the road at the Bushman’s Hotel for the sort of get together that mum likes – family and friends drinking and laughing while she sits there watching – quiet and unassuming”. – Eric Jones

#This post was published with the permission of the author and family

From → Obituaries

  1. Condolences to you and the family Jennifer.

  2. What an amazing story. I’m glad you got a chance to know your aunt, even if it was only in later years. She certainly seems like a force of love, and it’s clear her loss is deeply felt. What a beautiful obituary – it truly is a love-filled tribute.

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