A wonderful life has ended with the passing of Joan Luby - and while restrictions brought on by the insidious COVID-19 pandemic ensured that funeral mourners were confined to family members, countless friends were with them in spirit to bid a great lady fond farewell.
Parade was only part of Joan’s 91 years, but Life Membership of the Ladies’ Auxiliary (with whom she’s also pictured standing fifth from the right in 1972) reflected the heart and soul she gave to the College cause – “a lot of tuck shops, a lot of fund raising and a lot of fetes” as her youngest son Paul put it - and similarly to the cause of St Martin of Tours Rosanna as one of its founding members.
By way of a live stream from Eltham Chapel, Paul delivered heartfelt tribute to Joan – in part touching on his mother’s long association with Parade through her late husband Bernard (“Barney’) (1943) and sons Mark (1969), Anthony (1972), Martin (1979) and Paul (1980) who were all schooled at the College.
Acknowledging that his mother was not one to bring attention to herself, Paul told the gathering that this was one occasion where Joan’s edict would be respectfully unheeded . . . “because it’s not about you Mum, it’s about us – us here today and those watching online . . . and of the effect you have had on our lives”.
“I must admit that I’ve found it a little ironic these past five months - as the world has battled this terrible pandemic that’s created so many challenges to people all over the world - that the media has been reporting that a really good thing to come out of this is that society has discovered its purpose and what’s really important in life,” Paul told the gathering.
“They have been quoting people and using phrases like ‘community-kindness’, ‘self-sacrifice’, ‘being connected’, ‘being resilient, respectful, thoughtful and responsible’ and ‘doing the right thing’.
“It didn’t take a pandemic for Mum to discover these attributes. They were a natural part of who she was as a human being in her 91 years on this earth.
“She led by example . . . and we (children) were getting the best type of education in how we should lead our lives because Mum wouldn’t talk about being kind or being responsible or doing the right thing – she would just go and do it.”
Joan Carmel (nee Makin) Luby died peacefully in Ivanhoe on May 22. She was laid to rest in Eltham Cemetery with her husband Barney who predeceased her by almost 30 years. She is survived by all her sons, her two daughters Maree and Julie-Anne and their respective spouses, 10 grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.
Those nearest and dearest who could not attend the funeral service were acknowledged by Paul, together with other loved ones who had also predeceased Joan – amongst them her parents Percival and Margaret, her older sister Margaret, her uncle Les who lost his life in The Great War and her grandson Sean.
“I remember Mum saying to me once that she was so lucky to have the childhood she had and that she always felt loved by her parents and her siblings,” Paul said in closing.
“Mum, we feel the same. We were lucky for that Makin and Luby combination to come together in 1951 and our luck continues to this day.
“A life well-lived Mum. Rest in peace.”