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Memories of Margaret Mary (Peg) Kellock nee Quinn

Passed away peacefully at the Lions Hostel, Sunbury on 10 April 2013. Loved and loving wife of John (dec.), mother and mother in law of Liz and Phil O’Donnell, Grandmother of Steve and Katie Ryan, Cathy and Chris Pavichievac , Pauline and Rohan Boyle, Matthew (dec.) and Melissa (dec.) Proud Great-Grandmother of Jack, Lainey, Lockie, Gregory (dec.), Cormac, Ella, Maya, Joshie, Thomas and Emmerson. Peg, you will be sadly missed by us all.

Tribute to my Mother, Peg  13/4/13

When reflecting on the journey of someone’s life, especially almost 90 years, it is impossible to do justice to the fullness of their life, even more so when that person is your mum. So as I attempt to tell Peg’s story, I’m sure you can read between the lines and get a true sense of the person she really was. Mum was born in England at the Shoeburyness Hospital in County Essex in 1923 to Hilda and John Quinn and was baptised at St Georges Catholic Church. She had an older sister, Eileen and a younger sister Kathleen and much later, an adopted brother Terry became part of their family.

Mum met dad during the war at a dance and became engaged and married in 1994. My sister Jacqueline was born in 1945 and I followed 15months later. After the war Mum and Dad lived in Scotland for a short while with Dad’s family before returning to England to settle with my grandparents in Shoeburyness in County Essex. When Dad started his employment in Guilford in Surrey, we moved to Pirbright, a small village nearby. Life was simple, but I remember a very happy childhood. I was fortunate enough to return to England to rediscover my childhood a short time ago, to find not much had changed and it brought back so many great memories of my early family life. In 1957, Mum and Dad decided to settle in Australia to begin a new chapter in their lives, encouraged by my Aunty Kath and Uncle John who had already settled in Werribee where he had begun employment with C.S.I.R.O.

We lived with my Aunty, Uncle and cousins for about six weeks, until Dad found employment with ARNOS and we moved to Cheltenham. Mum was also looking for work until she realised that she was expecting my brother Andrew, who was born in 1958. We lived in a very old weatherboard house that was a rental property provided by Dad’s boss. Evan as a 10 year old child I can vividly remember how dilapidated it was with knee high grass and a ‘thunder box’ in the back yard. Needless to say, Mum was horrified, but to her credit she creatively set about transforming the house and garden into a very comfortable and inviting home. I have always admired my Mum for her resilience in adversity. I know I have inherited my love of gardening from Mum as she has always enjoyed her “green thumb”.

Mum made some great friends during their many years in Cheltenham who then became an important part of our family circle. There were many times when Mum was homesick for England and her family, who she missed very much. She returned to England to visit them with my brother in the early 70’s.

When Dad retired from ARNOS they moved to a unit in Parkdale where Dad played golf and Mum became involved in St. Vincent de Paul’s as a volunteer. She also gave her time to support young adults at the St John of God’s Centre. Around this time Andrew was offered a position in California’s “Silicon Valley” as a physicist and began to live permanently in America. Mum had a very close relationship with Andrew and they loved playing music together, Mum on the piano and Andrew on the guitar and she felt a great loss with his absence. In the early ‘80’s my sister Jackie and her family also moved away, so I encouraged Mum and dad to move to Sunbury to be closer to us to help support each other, especially as we were grieving the loss of my son, Matthew, who recently had died of leukaemia. Mum, who has always been a naturally shy and reserved person, struggled with these changes and deep losses in her life. But, again, she drew on her strengths and became very involved with St. Vincent de Paul in Sunbury becoming the Treasurer and working in their store for many years. Mum and I also spent many years volunteering together rattling tins outside the TAB in O’Shannassy Street for the annual Anti-Cancer Council in Matthew’s memory.

 A great joy for Peg was the weddings of her grandchildren. Although she was unable to travel to America, she was delighted when Steve married Katie. In Melbourne she was able to fully participate in the weddings of Cathy and Chris and Pauline and Rohan. Mum always worried she would never be a great-grandmother but in a few short years she became a very proud great grandmother of 9 beautiful children, all of who are here today. As both Mum and Dad declined in age they moved to their new and final home when they took up residence at the Lion’s Hostel here in Sunbury. For dad, it was a new lease of life, enjoying new friendships and continuing his love of bowling. But for Mum the changes were more difficult. However, with the loving care and encouragement that the staff at the Lion’s always provide, Mum settled in and became more involved in their activities. Peg always enjoyed the outings and bus trips and the many friendships of the other residents.

Sadly, when my dear Dad John passed away two and a half years ago, followed by the sudden and tragic death of Peg’s grand-daughter Melissa, only four months later, life became much more difficult for Mum. In her 90th year (10 July) Mum had adapted to many significant changes in her life. Through the challenges they have brought she has drawn on her strengths to weather them in her dignified and quiet way. Mum is survived by her sister, Kath, who lives in Canberra with her family and sadly cannot be with us today because of ill health, and her brother Terry who lives in France with his wife Renee and their two sons and their families.

Finally, Phil and I and our families wish to thank the dedicated team at the Lion’s Hostel. The love, support and care they have given to Mum and dad has been more than significant as they became their extended family and ours. We can’t thank you enough. We especially thank Doctor Chris Hogan and the Nursing team who cared so professionally and personally for mum, particularly in the final stages of her illness. As a family we found their support and advice to be most helpful. We thank Father Kevin, Jean Skillecorn and Annette Phuh and many others from St Anne’s parish community who have cared for Mum and provided her with spiritual comfort she needed. We thank all her dear friends, especially Nina, for the wonderful chats that Mum enjoyed so much. Mum, you have left your mark on all of us. You will be remembered with love and be missed very much. You are now re-united with Dad, Matthew and Melissa.

Mum, you have battled hard. Your struggles are now over and you can rest in peace at last.

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There are 2 personal tributes

Phil O'Donnell
April 12th, 2013 at 7:29 pm

Dear Peg, I have had the pleasure of knowing you now for over 30 years and in that time I have come to know you as an intelligent woman of character. You have experienced many losses in your life that must have been so hard to live with. You have always been a supportive mother-in-law to me. We have had many "good times", but sadly life has also dealt more than your fair share of "bad times". However, it is the good memories that I will cherish. One memory that I will never forget is our wonderful Melbourne Cup family day where the Kellock's, Ryan's, O'Donnell's and McConville's would have a great day together at our home in Sunbury enjoying the big day at Flemington. You have blessed us with 90 years of life. For all you have given, I thank you. Enjoy being re-united with John, Matthew and Melissa. Lots of love, Phil.

Liz O'Donnell
April 12th, 2013 at 7:15 pm

Dear Mum, It has been so hard,slowly watching your health deteriorate and your quality of life suffering so much.I now feel comforted knowing that you are embracing the peace that you so richly deserve and that you have returned to Dad, Matthew and Melissa. You have faced many difficult hurdles in your 90 years and the strength you have shown will always be admired by me and your family.I will miss you very much and your memory will always be close to my heart.Your loving daughter, Libby.