Funeral DetailsFuneral: 11:00 AM
Tuesday 14th May 2013 at St Michaels Catholic Church, 1 Victory Boulevard, Ashburton, VIC
Memories of Patricia (Pat) O'Donnell
Patricia (Pat) O'Donnell died peacefully at St Vincent's Hospital, on May 10 2013, aged 88 years.
Beloved wife of Tom (dec). Cherished mother of Terry and Jen, Tony and Paddy, Phil and Liz, Moira, Annie, Dave and Jean, Tim and Vron.
Adored grandmother of Jane, Dan, Tom, Sarah, Matt, Max, Katta, Neisha and Lucy. Great grandmother of Lili, Jude and Violet.
A wonderful and vibrant wife, mother and friend to so many.
Pat was born in Mornington, the youngest of six children to Andy and Kathleen (Sis) Galvin. She had a very happy childhood. She recalls many stories of how she may have been a pest to her older siblings Dot, Ve, Howard, Eddie and Joan as they were courting in their younger days. She unashamedly enjoyed the many benefits of being the “baby” of the family.
The family moved around a fair bit and Mum spent her teenage years at Union Street, Armadale, where she attended Kildare College. She enjoyed school and liked recalling how she was a young centre player in the school netball team. She also admits to many hours chatting over the fence to the De La Salle boys. After school, she started clerical work in Social Security where her future father-in-law, “Poss”, worked. She didn’t stay at Social Security for too long as she married the boss’ son. She liked to remind Poss over the years how lucky he was to get such a “good Catholic girl” as his daughter-in-law!
She and Tom married at St. Joseph’s, Malvern, and after a short time moved into their new home in Welfare Parade, Ashburton in 1949. Both immediately became very active foundation members of the young St. Michael’s parish. The vast majority of significant events in the O’Donnell family were ritualised in this parish church. Both remained devoted parishioners throughout their lives. The O’Donnell family home was always open house to the clergy of the parish, and so many others. It is so significant that she is being farewelled from her parish Church with a Mass led by her current Parish Priest, Fr. Hien.
Pat’s life focussed on the love of her life, Tom. They enjoyed 64 years of marriage and created a loving family with their children – Terry, Tony, Phil, Moira, Anne, Dave and Tim. Good fortune was with them over most of their years, saddened only with the still-born death of their daughter, Claire.
Pat was the happy home-maker supporting Tom as his career as a scientist grew. She was always so proud of Tom’s achievements. She thrived on the travel and friendships that accompanied Tom’s career. At home, the kitchen table was the daily centre of our family life, and the dining room table was in constant use as hospitality was Pat’s hallmark. Pat loved a good party and could outlast the best of them. We well recall many evening s of fine dining, fun, stories, dancing and just the occasional bottle of champagne!
We reckon God might have got even with the party-girl when she required regular major spinal surgery in her 40s. It might have slowed her body, but not her spirit. Over the next 40 years poor health was part and parcel of her living. In recent times this restricted so much of her otherwise very rich and active life.
The death of her beloved Tom just over three years ago was a massive glow to Pat. But she was determined to keep living at home and this she did with family support until her death. In the last few years her children ensured she was never alone at night. She loved the evening and weekend company of her children and always ensured a favourite meal would be ready for whoever was with her at home. Highlights were when interstate family would come and spend time with her. A delight of her later life was her beautiful grandchildren and great grandchildren. Pat had always loved children, but there was never any so special as “her own”.
Pat’s body and spirit finally had given her all, and after an evening in hospital happily spent with her family she later peacefully died.
Today we celebrate a wonderful woman, wife and mother while being a dear loved one and friend to so many. Her life has indeed been a blessing.
|There are 5 personal tributes|
May 27th, 2013 at 12:09 pm
I have written on behalf of all the beautiful grandchildren and Great Grandchildren of Nanna and DaTom. Although I am going to use the grandkids' stories, I hope that everyone here will be able to use them to reflect upon Nanna Pat, or Pat as mum, pat the mother in law, Aunty Pat, Pat the close friend. Or in anyway you knew Pat best. I have been considering what was Nanna's strength, what made Pat, Pat. As children we all felt the strength of Pat's love, but what made her so special was Pat's ability to share that love to everyone she welcomed into her home. The warmth in a hello or a goodbye from Pat is something everyone here knows. To some it was a warm holding of the hands, to many a plump kiss on the lips, or even the love in Pat's eyes as you left the back room at welfare parade through the sunroom window. I invite you all to close your eyes for the next 5 seconds and just imagine a moment of warm love with Pat. Whilst I continue feel free to hold the hand of the person next to you in the way that Pat would have done. Amongst the grandchildren we have discussed memories that have spanned over 40 years from Jane all the way to Lucy. Dan, Matt and Max all immediately said Soap Bubbles, Nanna’s hands had a beautiful little tremble that we all loved. She would rub her hands full of soap and blow big bubbles. For the Girls the famous nose kisses, also known as owl eyes and Eskimo kisses Nanna would rub noses whilst holding the kids cheeks warmly in her hands. Early morning visits to Nanna and Da Toms bed, for stories of Jack Frost and games such as noughts and crosses were great. Nanna even tolerating having her eyelids lifted open by Sarah whilst Nanna pretended to sleep .Da Tom would say good morning and then on most occasions roll back over to enjoy his sleep in leaving Nanna to entertain. Mind you even if DaTom was asleep, being in between them both was very cosy on a winters morning. I am glad noughts and crosses has made a comeback in the last year. Janey recalls the warmth of Nanna opening her doors to friends and enjoying Gin and Tonics Jean explained how Neisha and Lucy had free reign of the house to have fun, Nanna wasn’t fussed as long as they enjoyed themselves, I have laughed to myself as the perpetual worrier Da Tom would have called, Watch the Vase, Don’t Leave the Fridge open, or the Famous, Cross the tracks at the Bridge!! Many of our memories involve Nanna trying to get away with dancing, throwing a ball back and forth or not eating her food without being caught by Da Tom. Thanks to the arrival of Lilley, Jude and Violet Nanna became truly a great Grandmother. Nanna was sharp, very switched on, in her last day in hospital she was telling me to trim my beard, Annie her Fringe, Phil that his humour was not always funny and Tim not to get rusty on his prayers. And of course even on Thursday there was room for keeping up appearances, with a powdered nose and brushed hair. There was still room for a little vanity. Call nanna frail, watch out. Call Nanna tough your in trouble. But I think even Nanna would let me say, she had immense inner strength and an incredible capacity to give love. It should be mentioned that the love we all received was a result of Nanna and Da Toms rock solid love for each other. So to end I will borrow from Katta's words as she said perfectly “I will miss you Nanna”
May 23rd, 2013 at 8:40 pm (edited)
Dear Mum, Everything about you was so positive. You loved life and lived it so well. You and Dad not only gave us the gift of life but the security of your love. Because you were so good together as a couple, we kids grew up in the confidence that all is well. Over my 62 years I have known only your unconditional love. God bless and thanks.
May 22nd, 2013 at 10:36 am
A woman of immeasurable strength, warmth and fun! Condolences to all the family.
May 19th, 2013 at 3:58 pm
WORDS OF REMEMBRANCE FOR PAT O’DONNELL We sat down together last Sunday to remember Mum and do the best we could to prepare a farewell which would do some justice to her very full life. One of the things we had to do was to gather together the material for the audiovisual presentation you have just seen. The question arose: what music to play? We had tentatively decided on Bach’s Jesu Joy of my Desiring, but then there were second thoughts. While Mum thoroughly enjoyed music and dancing, she enjoyed people and friendships far more than the music itself. Smacka Fitzgibbon was a dear friend of both Mum and Dad, so J.S.Bach made way for Smacka. Born Patricia Galvin, Mum came from a line of strong and admirable women. My mother’s first Australian forbear was an Irish famine orphan who arrived in Victoria in a shipload of orphaned girls. She then raised a large family on the goldfields with her new Irish miner husband. (He is best remembered for his arrest at the Eureka Stockade.) Some of us here will remember Mum’s grandmother, ‘Mumma’ Howard, as she lived a life just short of a hundred years. She too was a strong woman and the foundation of a large and extended family. Mum’s mother, ‘Sissy’ Galvin, may have been small of frame, but was also a woman of influence who led her family by example. Mum was also a woman of strength. She was also inclusive and compassionate. In more recent years, if you were to phone her when Parliament question time was being televised, there were times when she could barely contain her outrage on things like the treatment of refugees. She had a considered opinion on issues ranging from education to climate change. Not that that was surprising. He father, Andy Galvin, was the local ALP electoral secretary in Mornington when the Australian Prime Minister Bruce lost his parliamentary seat. While she could be a bit fierce and sometimes showed a waspish sense of humour, she was both kind and tolerant. But that aside, the most important thing in my mother’s life was her husband, Tom. He was as central in her life as she was in his. While Dad had an eminent career in science and education, Mum was his constant support and carried much of the burden of caring for their large family. They were constant companions in an extraordinarily wide social life and the lived in England, Canada and America during Dad’s scientific career. While Dad was a good provider, proud of all of his children and had time later to enjoy his grandchildren and the then two great-grandchildren, it was to Mum the role of home-maker fell. I do not need to go on about that with anyone who knew her. It is enough to say that she was the rock of our family life. Even after Dad’s death three years ago, when any of the family came to Welfare Parade to be with her, it was she who still cooked the meals and who knew who liked lamb and who was a vegetarian. To Mum, family was everything. In her last months she had the enjoyment of the company of her most recent great-granddaughter who was brought from America to see her. Her children are seventeen years apart: her oldest grandchild is forty and the youngest is five, but no-one was more important to her than another. Mum enjoyed us all and it is impossible to say how grateful we are to her. Everyone who saw Pat and Tom O’Donnell together could see the constancy of love between them. The greatest sadness at the death one’s life partner is the leaving of the other to carry on alone. That is a sadness we do not have today. They are both at peace and Mum was in no doubt that right now they are together again. Terry O’Donnell 14 May 2013
May 15th, 2013 at 12:32 am
I cherish the opportunity to celebrate the life of one of the worlds true gems. I have loving memories of this lovely lady who was always smiling. She is now reunited with her beloved Tom and her brothers and sisters.