Vale Jann Lynette O'Neill, nee Paterson

Vale Jann O'Neill.

Vale Jann O'Neill.

Jann Lynette O’Neill, nee Paterson

29 November 1939 – 11 January 2019

Jann Lynette was born on the 29th of November, 1939, at The Glen family property, Kindee. She was the first child of Florence and Marshall Paterson and the eldest of 5 siblings.

Her many precious memories of growing up stemmed from a simple life being much loved, free to explore the countryside and learn the skills of the land. These earliest childhood experiences were shared with her three younger brothers, Jim, Gary and Grant.

She loved to tell stories of their adventures, especially she and Jim wending their way to Long Flat school by horse and boat and foot. The family moved to Long Flat when Jann was ready to attend High School in Wauchope and there her teenage years saw her involved with pretty much everything social that was going on.

When Jann was aged 17, her precious baby sister, Joy was born. So close were they that all their lives people often assumed they were mother and daughter.

Jann’s first job and her job for life really, was working at the Long Flat Post Office. She married into another local family when she wed her husband, Jon O’Neill at the age of 21.

They lived at the Long Flat Traveller’s Rest Hotel for four years where their first two children, Robert and Melissa were born. They then moved to the property at Stoney Creek where they lived for 15 years and raised four more children, Marie-Louise, Michelle, Megan and Peter.

In 1980 the family moved to Walters Street, Wauchope and then to her last address, Wallace Street, where she lived for the past 27 years. At this address, Mum, Dad and Lou ran a much-loved business, Tilly’s Tea House and Antiques which had a fabulous name for healthy, homestyle fare and friendly hospitality.

Her much-loved role of grandmother, or Mem, began when her first grandchild Taylor was born 27 years ago and only four short years ago her last grandchild, Martin was born. In between were Hannah, Bonney, Byron, Banjo, Henry, Ashlee, Bridie, Alyssa, Tilly and William. Each was welcomed adoringly by their Mem.

She was eternally patient and took great delight in every little aspect of their lives. As was her way, she was also Mem, to many, many others. And with all the local grandchildren came their friends who she also eagerly took under her wings.

These children were always drawn to the Wallace Street haven where the golden heart of the family resided, content to spend hours upon hours hanging out, eating, cooking, playing, the house took hide-and-seek to a new level, chatting, and tagging along with her on outings to assist and absorbed the art of caring.

And as she grew older they in turn tended to her needs and kept her ‘on trend’ with the latest reality TV shows, fashion styles, Facebook posts, hip cafes, all of which she embraced with gusto.

Aside from giving her deepest, selfless, never-ending love to family, Jann also readily contributed to the community in so many ways. With everything she ever did she was always fully involved, she never avoided hard work, she never retired.

She was never not a secretary or committee member of some persuasion including the Long Flat Junior Rodeo and P and C, Wauchope Jockey Club, Bundaleer Picnic Races, Pre-School, View Club and the St Vincent de Paul Society just to name a few.

She almost never didn’t work at Long Flat Post Office where she kept up with her dear long-term friends from Long Flat.

She was an Avon Lady for 33 years. An integral part of women’s lives, sharing a cup of tea at all times of the day and night, providing social care in addition to lipsticks, eye shadows and colour-matching foundations.

Her extensive Vinnies contribution began in 2000. This included the Vice President role as well as the hours of tireless sorting, being a mother hen to staff and customers and not to mention the great fun she had there on site and on many a fabulous outing with her great mates.

Her involvement with the View Club where she had just received her 20-year service medal always provided great fun and care for others with singing and theatre productions, fund raising and more fabulously fun outings.

Then there was the Jockey Club, Greyhound racing, school canteen, the list goes on.

Jann had a wide range of interests and was always up for trying something new. She loved the creativity and precision of sewing which she had learned from a young age and studied later on at TAFE.

She always had multiple projects in progress from designing trendy chenille shorts, redesigning something secondhand, ballet or view club costumes, year 12 teepee art assignments or most often expertly fixing something for someone often quite beyond repair. She used to joke that she had more materials than Cox’s fabric centre. It was true!

Jann was always willing to share the precious gift of time – to stop and say hello, with her sparkling smile and gentle voice, and her genuine interest in other people’s lives.

We would like to thank family and friends and staff at Wauchope Palliative Care who have given Mum so much joy in her life and especially in the last few difficult months which she so bravely and graciously endured as she had many other challenging times in her life. 

A funeral service was held to farewell Jann at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church on the 18th January 2019.