November 2016, Adelaide, South Australia
Welcome to the celebration of Mum's life. And what an inspiration she was to us all and so very special.
Mum reaching the wonderful age of 98 years, and what a marvelous achievement this has been. One of my old football mates from Melbourne Ted Sheehan said, “well she beat Don Bradman he only made it to 92”.
Mum joins Dad in heaven today and I am sure there weren’t any stops on the way and Dad would be looking forward this Saturday morning to mum cooking the breakfast he loved so much in The Crystal Brook days........ Lambs Fry & Bacon.
John & I said to not worry about sending any leftovers down.
All of our families are here in support of the celebration. John & Gill produced two beautiful girls in Danielle & Simone, and Sandra & I produced two beautiful boys in Brad & David. Craig & Simone produced two beautiful great grandchildren for mum & dad in Spencer and Adelaide Gillian. Mum loved her family dearly and we saw her as being a permanent shining light in our lives.
Our loyal family friend for over 50 years, Len Loechel is also considered one of the family, Dad and Mum always looked upon Len as being the third son. And Jeff Powell has been a long time family friend as well.
Dad was one of 8 in his family at Narridy (3 boys and 5 girls ), and Mum was one of 8 in her family down on the Cattle Track at Crystal Brook ( 3 boys and 5 girls ) . Her brothers Tom , Phil and Jay, and sisters Agnes, Mary, Eileen ( A Good Samaritan nun), Winnie and mum. Mum was so proud to have her sister Eileen a Good Samaritan Nun and there was a very special bond between them . Mum also had two nieces who became Convent of Mercy Nuns, Catherine Weatherald (dec’d) and her sister Josephine Weatherald. Mum was equally proud of them also.
Kathleen Veronica O’Loughlin was born in Jamestown on 14 February 1918 (St Valentine’s Day) and after finishing school at the Catholic Convent at Crystal Brook aged 14yrs, she worked at her Aunty Nora Freeman’s hotel in Wilmington for 3 years..... Then back to Crystal Brook working as a house maid at the Brook Hotel, and then a clerk the local Post office with Mr Ahern.
Mum loved her Irish heritage, her grandparents originally came from County Cork in Ireland, and her parents were Thomas (Snr) and Agnes (Snr). Unfortunately, her mother was only 50yrs old when she passed away suddenly after a short illness, so the family had to grow up quickly as many had to in those days. Mum’s father Thomas Snr, was a farmer and a drover.
Mum was well known for her Irish dancing on St Patrick's Day at Crystal Brook, including her famous Irish Jig, The Highland Fling and The Sailors Hornpipe. Mum also won a major Waltzing competition at the annual Crystal Brook Ball when she was 19 years of age. And she also played the Violin in a joint performance with Kev Kelly.
Dad sent money home when he was in the 2nd world war in the Middle East, to his brother Uncle Rex Darley, and asked that he, Auntie Marj and Auntie Mavis buy an engagement ring for Kathleen. Mum and Dad were married at St Mark’s Pt Pirie on 13th March 1943, and so the story began.
In my very early years of growing up in Crystal Brook, there are a couple of situations with mum that I can recall. Firstly as a little boy I use to suck my thumb, and I would be sitting on mum’s lap and she would be singing to me The Irish Lullaby “ TOORA LOORA LOORA” , and that changed to ‘Dance with the Dolly’ for the grandchildren,.AND I can also remember Mum would have John and myself on her bike, one on the front and one on the back, peddling us both up to School or Mass , and we would both be yelling out to her to go faster.
Also one morning in those early years, Mum sent John down to “Matthews Bakery” when he was about 12yrs old to buy a loaf of freshly baked bread ,sandwich loaf, unsliced as it was in those days. On the way back home John started picking and nibbling at the open-end centre of the warm bread and by the time he got home, you could see large hole right through the middle of the bread...... Poor Mum had to make dad’s lunch sandwiches that night from of the outside crusts of the bread. Not happy Kath and not happy Roy.
Mum had such wonderful great faith, and never once did she impose her religious beliefs on anyone. She did not have to, everyone knew she was special. She had a number of holy pictures around her at The Nursing Home and her favourite Saint was Mary Mackillop.
Mum was able to take things in her stride and lived by the philosophy, you can’t change the past and never carry regrets and the way you live today creates the path for the future. She was rock solid on that and lived by that right throughout her life. Mum also had a gift in that she was mentally ‘strong as’, and never thrown off guard. Her energy and language was full of love, respect and always dignified.
When John & I were about 12 and 13 we had taken a liking to Condensed Milk and we knew mum had a book no.161 at Eudunda Farmers to make small purchases. Up we go to the Counter “Two tins of Condensed Milk thanks Mr Lambert”, well Mr Lambert knew we were up and coming young footballers in the Junior Colts and he did not have the heart to knock us back.
We would get half way home , in front of the wheat stacks , a rusty old nail and a hole in both ends, and down goes the Condensed Milk, we would feel sick in the tummy for the rest of the day. We did that two or three times during the month, and Mr Lambert went along with us, as he was looking at the future opportunities of the Crystal Brook Football club.
Then Mum gets her monthly account from Eudunda Farmers -that was the end of the condensed milk - but John, Len and I played in up to three “A grade” premierships with Crystal Brook 1962, 1963 and 1964 . So all I can say is that Mr Lambert’s efforts did not go unrewarded.
Kathy did enjoy glass of beer on a hot summer’s night at the Brook or when Uncle Tom O’Loughlin came over for a Sunday night’s baked Dinner. She would say that the beer had to be really cold and it would........ “ tickle all the way down”.
Mum was always there for Dad and the family, through the highs and lows of daily life. Always self assuring, calm and gentle, I think you have to be when you live with a Darley, in a male dominated household such as ours was. But when she waved that finger, we quickly stood to attention, even Dad, and she meant business.
Mum was comfortable with a simple life and did not want the best of everything, but the way she lived she made the best of everything. And Gratitude as such can easily be referred to as a shortcut to happiness.
Kathleen was radiant and had an aura about her, and when she walked into a crowded room with that beautiful smile, it was infectious, full of warmth and everyone noticed her. Always positive in her conversations with family and friends, and always re assuring in her language , we all loved her and wanted to be in her presence. Mum always found the good side in people, no matter who they were, and always made those she met feel special about themselves, a rare quality indeed .
Mum worked casually at Kev and Marnie Jones “Shell Roadhouse” in the Cafe at the Brook for a few years with Pat O’Dea, Nell Sedgeman & Vera Keech. Mum and Dad always held a high regard for Kev and Marnie Jones.
Mum especially loved working at social functions to support the local RSL , The Football Club, Catholic School and especially the children’s Orphanage at Crystal Brook. One of those functions supporting the Orphanage being The Annual Strawberry fete which was a special event, with Pat Fenech controlling the Strawberries and Icecream, and who could forget Dorrie Higgins mouth watering cream puffs or the famous Kath Darley scones and didn’t we love them.
She was joined with some of her long time friends working year after year at the annual fete and I am sure she would love to have some of them recognised: Mrs Curtin, Mrs Dee, Madge Slattery, Maunie Carmody, Joan O’Callaghan, Bub O’Shaughnessy, Mollie Kerin , Auntie Mary O’Connell, poor old Madge Cox, Meg and Pauline Curtin, ‘Little’ Marj Head and ‘Tall’ Marj Head as mum would say, and she never forgot the two Mrs Hickey’s, who were great workers for the school.
There were some other very special workers that mum had great admiration for, the local Catholic nuns who ran the school, the convent and cared for a number of children at The Orphanage at any one time. Sister Sabina, Sister Bede, Sister Patrick and Sister Ethelreda to name a few.
These nuns were high achievers often under trying conditions. Nothing for themselves, just 100% GIVE of themselves, long hours... 7 days a week, 365 days a year.......... So if this is an opportunity for a public acclamation of all the Catholic Nuns at Crystal Brook, including mum’s sister, Sister Pauline ,in recognition of the hard work for the many years at The School, The Convent and The Orphanage, then it is so richly deserved. Mum would love to hear that.
Mum had a special place in her heart for Warrigul , Pauline and Neal, down on The Cattle Track with Uncle Dan and Aunty Mary.
Mum’s song was Danny Boy, she loved it and sang it....... If John & I weren’t kicking the football on the dusty road, we were playing cricket up our driveway with Gary, Boxer (dec’d ) and Bruie, and over the years mum loved to hear the song which was sung and composed by Greg Champion titled, “I made a hundred in the backyard at mums”. It was very special to her and she would often hum the tune.
There was also another well known Australian song that mum found inspirational. It reminded her of her brothers Tom ,Phil and Jay running out onto the football field, it reminded her of John, Len, Craig and myself, and her nephews (Peter, Gus and Jeff) running onto the ground. That song was called “UP THERE CAZALY”. It was the full package for mum and she re-lived the wonderful memories of those years each time she heard the song.
Mum was able to cope with every situation, good and bad, always with a most peaceful approach and displaying empathy when needed and she had the ability to put people at ease in an instant. All of these qualities appeared to come effortlessly to her, just a wonderful gift she had. Mum would feel quite embarrassed about me saying these words about her but quite humbled also.
I was reading a quote recently which said “That People will forget what you said and People will forget what you did. But People never forget how you made them feel”.
Mum supported John and I right to the end, never faltering with her love for all the family , her grandchildren and great grandchildren and she loved them dearly, and it is great to have our own doctor in the family ...“we keep costs under control.”
Quintessentially speaking, our family saw mum as a perfect example of someone who demonstrated, clearly demonstrated that true happiness is all about giving and comes from within.
Dad was a little lost when they arrived at the Nursing Home at Grange in Nov 2009 and they were in separate beds in the one room , and after the first few nights, Dad said to mum in his aging voice “I think you had better come over here and get into bed with me tonight Kath”,
Mum told dad to go back to sleep.
Mum loved the ‘AngliCare’ Nursing Home at Grange and all the staff. The dedicated and exceptional care that she received from the staff at the Nursing Home was out of this world. It gave the family peace of mind, knowing she was in great hands. It was just the best.
Special thanks also to our long time family friend Theresa Hamer from Canberra who mum and dad thought the world of. And Jim Rice and Angus Tully also from Canberra, have been a long time family friends as well.
Special thanks to Father Rate and also Kay Clements a local parishioner who every Tuesday morning, week after week, took Holy Communion to mum at the Nursing Home. Greatly appreciated Kay.
The staff at “Blackwell’s Funerals” have been meticulous in handling all the details for today. Well done.
John, Sandra, Danielle ,Simone , Craig, Brad and David have produced some special magic in delivering for today. It has been one outstanding team performance. John visited mum at the Nursing home 3 times a week , every week for 7 years without fail. He was the Anchor for mum and the Anchor for the family. Outstanding.
We think that Kathleen Veronica Darley (nee O’Loughlin) was a work of art, and has her place in history at the highest level. She loved being an O’Loughlin and loved being a Darley just as much.
On behalf of the family thank you all for standing alongside us today. A special mention to all those who have travelled long distances to be here also.
Mum passing away peacefully at the Nursing Home at the wonderful age of 98 is not tragic, it’s natural.
Mum and Dad built a family home which was full of Love, Pride, Energy, Responsibility and Respect.
And so finally, when you are all back at home tonight having a drink with your family, think of Mum and I am sure that it will “Tickle all the way down”.