McNAMA, Leola CatherinePrint
Passed away peacefully surrounded by her loving family aged 91. Beloved wife of Bernard (dec). Loved mother and mother-in-law of Diane and Peter; Gale and David; Judith and Des; Robert and Gail (dec) and Karen; John and Renee; Mandy and Mark; Margret and Shane, and all their children and grandchildren.
“Cherished by all”
Funeral NoticeService: Friday February 28, 2020
The Funeral of Mrs. Leola Catherine McNama will be held at the Yaugher Cemetery, Cemetery Road, Forest on Friday, February 28, 2020 commencing at 1.30 pm.
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A special lady whom will be remembered with great fondness. Thinking of you all at this sad time. Love Vanessa and John Lawrence and family
Our sincerest condolences to the De La Warr family on the loss of your mother, mother-in-law and children’s grandmother. Your loss is immeasurable. Thinking of you all, Anka, David, Georgia & Alexander Lamming X
My deepest sympathy to Leola’s family at this sad time, a special lady. Janet Brien
Eulogy for Leola Catherine McNama
Leola Catherine Wood was born in Ballan on 31st August 1928, as the first daughter of John and Ethel Wood. John, or Jack, as he was known, was a Forrest local and Ethel came to the area with her parents, due to their work on the railways. Although John and Ethel met and married in Forrest, they lived in Ballan for the first few years of their marriage, where John was working as a Labourer. They soon moved back to Forrest, however, where Leola spent her childhood, along with her four younger sisters, Alison, Gwen, Bev and Edith.
From all reports, Mum was a feisty, bright and energetic child, who left her mark on the world from an early age. She enjoyed her education at the Forrest School and particularly excelled at arithmetic and art. She also enjoyed sport and won a number of prizes at school for sprinting. Mum remembered living in a few different houses around Forrest over her childhood, but after leaving school at fourteen, went to live with her Grandmother Harding in Cavendish Street, Geelong. She started work with a furrier as an apprentice tailor, but because of the poor wages, soon left to work at the Valley Mill, making soldier’s uniforms for the war effort. As the war drew to an end, she returned to Forrest, where she worked for two years at the Forrest Hotel, and then in a local shop.
On New Year’s Eve 1946, at a dance in Apollo Bay, Mum met her beloved Bernie. At that time Dad was working at Sharpe’s mill, in the bush out of Forrest, and Mum was working at the Forrest Hotel. Over the years of their courtship, Dad worked locally at Henry’s mill in Forrest, but once they married, they moved into Dad’s father’s old house in Barwon Downs, where Dad worked at local mills until they finally closed in 1977. In this small timber-milling town, whenever it was possible, Mum participated with Dad in the numerous local social events and annual Christmas activities, as well as in the school Mother’s Club and the CWA. In her later years, she loved teaching RE at the local school until it was closed in 1993.
She was, however, also pretty busy with other things! Mum’s early role as wife and homemaker was swiftly overtaken by her role as a mother, with the birth of Diane in late 1949, followed by Gale in 1952, (myself) Judith 1953, Robert 1955, John 1960, Mandy 1963, and then after a little break, Margret in 1972. It was no small task raising seven children! Meanwhile, in those early years, in addition to her parenting, homemaking, and looking after the various chooks, ducks, dogs, cats, guinea pigs, pet sheep and budgerigars that the family accumulated, Mum was also still able to help Dad with numbers of crop-farming endeavours. To supplement their income from his work at the mill, Dad leased land and grew seasonal crops of peas and potatoes. This required additional labour of pea picking, potato-seed-cutting, planting and then digging up, all of which Mum and we, as a growing family, became proficient at.
Mum also put her tailoring and sewing skills to good use, making most of our clothing over our childhood. Gardening was another of her many skills. In 1964, when a highly successful crop of peas allowed them to buy the small dairy farm up the nearby valley, Mum and Dad set to and developed extensive orchards and vegetable gardens. Alongside Dad’s perpetual potato harvests, and the milk, butter and eggs from the farm, Mum’s vegetables and fruit provided the major source of the family’s food through both drought and plenty over many years. Over their retirement years, Mum focused heavily on her craft skills, particularly her crocheting. She assiduously provided baby rugs, beanies and other crocheted items for each of the growing families, and then later, donated many to friends and anyone in need.
As an individual, Mum had an embedded faith in God, which sustained her throughout her life. As a wife, she was deeply loved and honoured by Dad for her faithfulness, support and dedication over their 64 years of marriage. In Dad’s final years at home, Mum worked unremittingly to support and care for him, so he could stay as long as possible up his beloved valley. As a couple, apart from faithfully loving each other, Mum and Dad were successful in nurturing and educating to adulthood seven totally diverse children who have a deep respect and gratitude for their love and support over a lifetime. As a grandmother, Mum has been much loved by her 19 grandchildren, and at last count, 26 great grandchildren. As a member in the local community, she was appreciated for her interest and participation in local issues, and for her closer friendship with some.
After finally leaving their beloved valley in 2013, and Dad’s death soon afterwards, despite the deep loss and loneliness that followed, Mum courageously and cheerfully filled her days with positive activities, crocheting, reading and participating in life at Corangamara, lovingly cared for by staff, and enjoying many visits and outings with family. She was a noted identity in the Corangamarah community for her high productivity of crocheted rugs and beanies, often giving them away to anyone who admired them. In 2018, she was very thrilled to have so many family share in celebrating her 90th Birthday, and this became a highlight experience for her, and for all of us who were there. Gradually, though, since that time, Mum’s energies and wellbeing began to lag, with regular blackouts and falls stealing away her independence.
Des: Despite having valiantly recovered from a broken hip earlier last year, we saw Leola’s unique and vital personality slowly fading away. It was with great sadness that we recognised she was not going to reach the milestone of 100, that she had so aspired to, and she finally slipped away from us early on Sunday morning, 23rd of February.
Mum: (Leola), mother, sister, aunt, cousin, grandma, great granma, neighbour and friend: we salute you for a life comprehensively and well lived. We are pleased you are free from the constraints of old age at last, reunited with your precious Bernie and now forever united with God. We will miss you more than you will know. Your memory will live on through your children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, each of whom bear some small part of the legacy of your extraordinary life.