Chris and I have enjoyed a great friendship with Sue and Jim for two decades. We have shared passions and interests, humour and laughter, the excitement of family milestones and achievements, as well as life’s unexpected turns and events. Our trips to Melbourne will never be quite the same again now that Sue is no longer with us. She was a remarkable person, combining so many different talents, achieving to the highest levels, but always so grounded. She enthusiastically supported and indeed revelled in Jim’s quixotic hobbies, meanwhile finding time to pursue her many creative interests. Quilting was boosted by the arrival of a huge quilt frame set up in the front room, her creativity patched lovingly into the surprise wedding quilt for Anna.

My memories of Sue span early visits to the dramatic site of their landowning years above Wollongong, get-togethers at Emu Plains and Thredbo, then on to Melbourne and leisurely times at Williamstown and Wolfden. Relaxed conversation, fabulous meals rustled up from local market produce, trips out to art and craft fairs, garden shops and wineries, and soaks in the hot tub on the deck. Conversation was never dull, putting the university sector and the world to rights. Sue was a clear thinker, able always to get quickly to the nub of an issue, inclusive in her approach to taking things forward and making a difference.

Semi-retired, she enthusiastically pursued all those activities and interests put on hold in the mortgaged years of employment. Not for her a hankering to remain important: to retain positions of influence, to regret leaving behind the rewards of a top academic position. Swapping the commuting life for companionship with Jim and their grown-up kids was rich and sufficient reward in itself. Often when I think of Sue I recall the pleasure that she and Jim derived from the closeness of family in their everyday lives: planning for Anna and Nicks’s wedding, Michael’s take-up of a Ph D? scholarship, the birth of a granddaughter, a successful online bid by Jim for a rare calculator, welcoming Sue’s new puppy into the household.

We will miss our wonderful friend. We hope for many opportunities to come in sharing with Jim memories of times together, keeping alive her presence and vitality.

Liz Sommerlad


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Page last modified on September 19, 2016, at 04:40 PM