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Friday, 13 July 2012

30. Three Score Years and Ten

Bert turned 70 in 1961, the year before Doll's visit. On 2nd June, 1962,  while Doll was staying with them, Bert, Nell and Doll went out to lunch with Albert. After they got home, Bert, still the fixer and maintainer, climbed on to the roof of the house to do some repair work. This time, however, like his father before him, Bert suffered a heart attack and fell - from the roof. He was dead when he hit the ground.

Doll and Nell managed to summon help. Telephones were not common in every house in Australia in 1962. Albert had one for his business, but no other family members had a telephone until later in the 60s. News of a death was delivered by the police going to the homes of next of kin and passing on the news.

Albert arranged the funeral and cremation at Woronora Cemetery. Sylvia and Grace's children were deemed too young to attend a funeral and were not allowed to go. Irene and Ray went.

Sylvia was rocked by her father's death and took some time to come to terms with it.

Bert's ashes were scattered in a rose garden at Woronora. When Nell died, many years later, Sylvia's children had memorials for both of them installed in the rose garden where Nell's ashes are buried, at Woronora.

In his lifetime he had done his best with the hand dealt to him, worked hard, served his country, reached out to new things, seized the opportunities that came along and provided for his family no matter what. Although he placed no importance on education, he was enterprising and prepared to take risks. He built a better future for his descendants.

Doll stayed on for a few weeks after Bert's funeral, then flew home to New Zealand. During the flight, somewhere over the Tasman Sea, Doll also suffered a heart attack. She died on the plane. She was 69.

Fred 1962

Fred lived another three years, but on 24th September 1965, he too died of a heart attack. He was 64.

Syd visited Australia and New Zealand later in the 1960s and died of a heart attack in 1972, aged 76.

May, Fred, four grandchildren, Barbara and Ian c. 1981
Les lived until 1985. He saw his daughter married in England and return to New Zealand.  He visited Australia again in the 60s. He had four grandchildren, including twins, when he died, aged 82.

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