A tribute to Grandma Maud

Sadly Grandma Maud - Daddy's mum - died on 9th January, 2009.  She had been living in Woodfield Lodge quite near us, after being diagnosed with dementia.  She experienced a couple of falls late in 2008, from which she never quite recovered.  We will miss her dearly.
A funeral service was held at St David's Uniting Church, Haberfield on 14th January.  

Click on the images below for an enlargement (about 50K).
Grandma was born on 31st March, 1917, on a farm at Ballyclog in rural County Tyrone, Northern Ireland.  She was one of 13 children, 10 of whom survived beyond the age of three.

Because the family was so large, Grandma spent some time living with her uncle, Rev George McCahon, who was the Minister of Orritor Presbyterian Church in nearby Cookstown.  The Kells family worshipped at Brigh Presbyterian Church, located amongst fertile farming fields near Ballyclog, where she was baptised.

Here's a picture of Grandma at Ballyclog school.  That's her right in the middle, with the curly hair, just behind the teacher!  A good percentage of the pupils were Kells children! Click on the image for an enlargement.

After completing school Grandma trained to be a nurse in the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, and worked there for several years before becoming a nurse in the army during World War II. 

Here are a few pictures of her as an army nurse.

During the war, Grandma was stationed in India and then Iran for several years. One of her brothers, Jack, who was in the Airforce, managed to get to India to meet up with Grandma.  Here they are together in 1945 - what a handsome pair!!

Before going overseas with the army, local lad Bobbie McCrea had been courting Grandma...  Bobbie lived several kilometres away on a farm at Urblereagh.  By all accounts, Grandma had no shortage of admirers, but Bobbie won her heart because he happened to own a car at the ripe young age of 17! 

Grandma and Bobbie were separated for several years during the war, as Bobbie was in the Navy.  Their relationship survived the period of separation, however, and they were married at Brigh Presbyterian Church on 18th March, 1947, during what has been described as one of the coldest winters of the century.  The snow was so deep that Grandma had to be transported to the church in a tractor!

Here's a picture of the happy couple on their wedding day.  Grandma wore a suit because the weather was soooo cold at the time!

Our daddy, Philip, was born in May 1949, and our Auntie Diane in April 1951. The picture on the left shows Grandma lovingly holding our Daddy when he was a mere 4 weeks old.  Auntie Diane has arrived in the second picture, and is probably only a few months old.

Grandma's mum, Ella Sophia, and dad, John James Kells, are also in the picture.  Grandma's mum was formerly Ella Sophia Watters. Daddy's Auntie Elsie is also included, so the picture is presumably taken by Grandma's brother, Joe.

Beach time!  The weather is not all that conducive to sitting on the beach for long periods in Ireland, but we made the most of sunny days when they came.  Here's a picture of Grandma, Daddy and Auntie Diane at Arcadia Beach at Portrush, probably taken when Daddy was 6 or 7 - what do you think?  Daddy is looking resplendent in his little knitted woolen bathing suit!!  Perhaps Grandma is knitting it in the next picture??

The third picture shows grandma's mum all rugged up for the Irish weather...

These two pictures tell two very different stories.  The one on the left, probably taken in 1959, shows the family relaxing in the lounge room of the family home, "Sanville", in Coalisland. Grandad Bobbie was General Manager of the Ulster Fireclay Works.

Life was very comfortable in Ireland, but Grandma and Grandad decided to migrate to Australia.  The image on the right presents a different picture of the family on board the deck of the Oriana in February 1962, wearing floral tropical wear that they probably picked up in Aden or Colombo!.

After initially landing in Brisbane, the family moved to Sydney, where Grandad got a job at PGH Ceramics at Doonside. 
Grandma and Grandad had trouble settling in their new country, and moved around quite a bit, living in Marayong, Doonside, Griffith, Camden, Winston Hills, Prospect (two houses!), Gwandalan, and finally Kings Langley.  When at Doonside, Grandma worked as a nurse in the nearby convalescent home. 

After returning to Sydney from Griffith, both Grandad and Grandma worked at PGH Ceramics and retired in the mid 1980s.  After retiring, they moved Gwandalan, about 2 hours north of Sydney, to be by the sea, which was always a dream of theirs.  Initially they enjoyed it, but Grandad had a heart attack not long after they moved there, and since Grandma did not drive, she began to feel a little vulnerable.  So they decided to return to Sydney, and bought a house in Kings Langley.

The first two pictures above show happy days in their house at Prospect, located right on Fox Hills Golf Course, probably taken in the mid 70s. The third picture shows Grandma with Auntie Diane and Uncle Alan in 1978 in their house at Pitt Town, where Uncle Alan was the Uniting Church Minister.

These two photographs show special occasions.  The one on the left is the Kells family reunion in Ireland in 1979.  It was the first time that the ten Kells brothers and sisters had been together for 50 years. This was Grandma's first trip back to Ireland since leaving in 1962.  It was a very special occasion.  From left are Rowley, Willie, Joe, Hugh, Grandma, Kennedy, Madge, Sinclair, Robert and Jack.

The picture on the right was taken on Grandma's 40th wedding anniversary in 1987.

Grandma had six grandchildren - Ben, Jamie, Mark and Jonathan, as well as us two - Matthew and Michael. All boys!  And she spoilt us all something awful!  Here she is at a birthday for Mark(?) in 1998. The pictures of us are from 2003 and 2004.

After Grandad died in 1991, Grandma decided to move to Haberfield, to be close to Auntie Diane and Uncle Alan.  Daddy and Mummy also  moved to Haberfield in 1996, and so Grandma had her two children within easy walking distance..

Grandma became active in the affairs of St Davids Uniting Church at Haberfield, where Uncle Alan was Minister.  She never missed a Sunday at church, regularly making cakes for morning tea after church, and catering for the children at KUCA after school on Thursdays.  Her shortbread was everyone's favourite!  She also actively supported the Ella Community Centre at Haberfield.  

Grandma was always a happy person. She had an infectious smile that was laced with just enough mischief to make her a rascal at times!
 The third picture above captures this nicely.

During the last few weeks of 2008 Grandma's health failed her in a variety of ways.  She had a couple of falls which unsettled her, and she was not able to speak coherently, nor stand up, nor feed herself.  Her hearing had been poor for quite a few years.  In the end her quality of life was not high, and so her departure was, in many ways, a release for her.  She was almost 92.  

The  first picture is Grandma on her 90th Birthday on 31st March 2007, and the second picture is Christmas Day 2008, which is the last day we all spent time with her.

We are indebted to the wonderful staff of Woodfield Lodge who looked after Grandma so lovingly for the past two and a half years.  You have been just terrific!

Grandma was a committed Christian, and is now safely with Jesus, and is no longer experiencing the discomfort she has experienced over the past year or two.

Farewell Grandma.  You were a wonderful mum to our daddy, Philip, and to Auntie Diane, a wonderful wife to Grandad Bobbie, and a loving and caring Grandmother to us - Matthew and Michael, as well as Ben, Jamie, Mark and Jonathan.  She is survived by her brother, Kennedy, in Ireland who is 94.  We will all miss you.

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