'Loving': Heartfelt tribute to iconic Gladstone woman

IT'S NOT often a Gladstone resident's name is dropped in parliament.

But member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher had the gallery in absolute silence as he paid tribute to a well-known and respected Gladstone woman, Fay Owens, who passed away November 9 last year.

This is Glenn Butcher's touching speech:

"I rise in parliament tonight to pay tribute to an amazing lady, Fay Owens OAM, who passed away in Gladstone on 9 November last year at the age of 87. Fay was born in Emerald in 1929, the first year of the Great Depression.

When she was just four years of age her mother died of tuberculosis at the age of 34 and Fay was raised in the home of a loving aunt and uncle and their family.

She left school at 13 and commenced work as an apprentice tailoress - I do not believe there are too many of those today - for which she was paid 10 shillings and sixpence for 40 hours work. Fay married Dudley Charles Owens in Rockhampton in 1949 and at the time of her passing they had celebrated 67 years of married life.

Together they raised three children, Larry, Cathy and Bruce, and in time Fay became a loving and dedicated grandmother to seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Fay Owens. Photo Contributed
Fay Owens. Photo Contributed

Fay had boundless energy and was a tireless volunteer worker for every community in which she lived.

She gave of herself to the lonely, the ill, the needy and the marginalised at every opportunity and never expected recognition or reward.

She was feisty when she needed to be and never shied away from taking up a challenge, but every battle she faced for those she helped was fairly and respectfully fought

During her 87 years she received many accolades and numerous awards. Every compliment by way of word or deed was humbly accepted and quietly treasured by Fay.

These included the Commonwealth Award for Citizens 1981; a Queensland Spastic Welfare Society Board appointment from 1982 to 1992; the Distinguished International Achievement Nobility Award, commonly known as the DIANA-ESA Women's International; and on Australia Day in 2008 she was presented with the Order of Australia Medal for Service to the Community by the Queensland Governor, Quentin Bryce.

It is also of note that during her time as a resident in Emu Park, Fay was elected to the Livingstone Shire Council three times between 1991 and 1999.

Fay shared every success in her life with her adoring family, all of whom she equally and unconditionally loved. In an interview several years ago she described her life partner, stating; My husband Dudley is the love of my life, my soul mate, fellow traveller and a wonderful supporter and advocate.

Tonight I extend sincere condolences to Dudley and the Owens family at the loss of a wonderful, generous lady who dedicated her life to others. May she rest in peace."

- Glenn Butcher, State MP.

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