Fay Owens: A great lady remembered

SHE grew up in the depression, lost her mum to tuberculosis aged just four but went on to lead a life as one of Central Queensland's great community champions.

Fay Owens OAM, who served as a Livingstone Shire councillor over three terms between 1991 and 1999 has died in Gladstone aged 87.

Gladstone MP Glen Butcher paid tribute to Ms Owen with a speech to Queensland Parliament describing her as "an amazing lady”.

Fay was born in Emerald in 1929, the first year of the Great Depression, and was raised by a loving aunt and uncle and their family after her mother died of tuberculosis at the age of 34.

"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,” Mr Butcher told parliament.

"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 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.”

That spirit was evident during her time living in Emu Park when she was elected to Livingstone Shire Council three times (1991-1999).

She received many accolades and numerous awards. 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.

"Every compliment by way of word or deed was humbly accepted and quietly treasured by Fay,” Mr Butcher said.

"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,” Mr Butcher said.

Ms Owens passed away in November.

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