Julian Robertson welcomed Friends and introduced the Memorial Meeting at Brookfield Community Hall, a place which Susan knew well through her connection with the Mt Crosby Historical Society. About 350 people attended the memorial meeting, filling the hall to overflowing.
Peter Graham spoke on behalf of Susan’s brothers, recalling their childhood growing up in rural Queensland. He mentioned Susan’s civilising influence on her brothers, and her love of reading.
Liz Dalley, a friend from Susan’s secondary school days at Ipswich Girls Grammar, spoke about their strong and lasting friendship, Susan’s practical gifts, her love of cooking, sewing and gardening as well has her skills as a journalist and editor.
Alice, Susan’s daughter spoke about her mother’s straightforward honesty and truth telling, her gifts as a homemaker who made all visitors welcome at their home over a beautiful meal, her ability to offer comfort with a simple plate of biscuits and a listening ear. Alice said that Susan thought that her career as Yearly Meeting Secretary was the best job she had ever had, drawing on her skills in drafting minutes under pressure, her organisational ability and her caring nature.
Rex, Susan’s husband was the last to speak. He said that he was grateful to have shared 47 years with Susan and to have shared the beauty and grace of her body and spirit.
Julian introduced a short time of worship in which many friends spoke of their experiences with Susan and their admiration for her many skills and gifts. Many Friends were drawn to Quaker meeting as a result of their interactions with Susan.
Susan met Rex during her time at the Women’s College and the University of Queensland studying Arts. A cadetship in journalism in 1970 led to work in Sydney and then in London as a journalist.
Susan returned to Brisbane and she and Rex were married 47 years ago. The years in which Susan was raising and caring for her two children Alice and Charlie were some of the happiest times in her life.
Tragedy struck when her son Charlie developed brain cancer at the age of 19 and he died eighteen months later. Charlie received support from the Karuna Hospice, and after Charlie’s passing, Susan became a volunteer at Karuna, offering assistance to patients as they reflected on their life journey, finding meaning in their interest and choices in life.
Susan was led to Quaker meeting following this time of grief. She found solace in silent worship, the courage to accept the loss of their son and the determination to live the best life that she could live.
Rex and Susan found comfort and happiness in their weekly folk singing classes with Margret Roadknight. The songs lifted their spirits and helped them find meaning in their
The memorial meeting included a selection of songs chosen by Rex, sung by Margret. The opening song was “We are the boat we are the sea”. The songs “Tis a gift to be Simple” reminded us of Susan’s Quaker connections, and the song “If you love me plant a rose” seemed just right for Susan’s love of flowers and plants. Everyone present was holding or wearing a nasturtium picked from Susan’s garden by local primary school children.
The meeting concluded with the song “Bells of Norwich”, referring to daffodils emerging from snow.