HOW do you compact an amazing lifetime of 95 years into a few words?
The Lithgow community is feeling heart-ache and grief after its last surviving WWII veteran, Marie Bright died peacefully in her home on Monday, September 13 2021.
She had been an executive on the local sub branch for many years and a notable fixture at every Anzac Day.
She marched every year until the last recent where she was transported by Lithgow Taxi's, waving to all.
Marie Therese Bright (nee Dowler) was born on April 14, 1926. She was the eldest of 9 children. At the tender age of 12 was when her first real test of life was to come following the sudden death of her mother Regina at the age of 41. Her father William had given her the task of looking after her brothers and sisters.
She gave up opportunities for an education and left school to run the household, until she was comfortable that her siblings were old enough to look after themselves.
Marie wanted to give more of herself and devote her life to the church and to serve god but this wasn't meant to be. God had other plans and she met her future husband Bill Bright just before she joined the Women's Australian Auxiliary Air Force.
She enlisted on April 20, 1944 and was posted to Darwin as an Aircraft Woman and was awarded the War Medal for her efforts while serving. She was discharged on April 3, 1946.
Shortly after her discharge Marie and Bill tied the knot with a winter wedding in Lithgow and started a family.
Marie's children were blessed to have grown up under the protective wing of their mother and have special memories tucked away in their hearts and minds, they will cherish forever.
"We always remember the little things like she would never miss a birthday or special occasion and would often play happy birthday on a little music box down the phone line. She was never selfless and always put her family first."
She was dearly loved wife of Bill (dec), loved mother and mother-in-law of Raymond (dec) & Margaret Bright, Lynette & David Quinn, Dianne & Lionel Hawken, Michael Bright, Denise & Doug Doble, beloved grandmother of her 13 grandchildren, 18 great grandchildren and their families, survived by her loving sister Sheila Hemmy, a loving sister, sister-in-law and auntie, friend and companion of Ross Wright (dec).
After Bill sadly passed in 1989 there was a void in Marie's life which was later fulfilled with the companionship of her best friend Ross.
Her life was then enhanced with regular travelling and it was a happy time for her in her 70s.
She was not only a wonderful mother but a very dedicated lady who wanted to contribute to her community in any way that she could.
Her achievements were many and include being the first Lady Director on the board of the Lithgow RSL Club outside the metropolitan area and was awarded Life Membership at the same time.
Marie was also the first woman on the Lithgow City sub branch of the Returned Services League and was also awarded life membership.
Another first was being elected president of the Blue Mountains District Council of Sub Branches - a position that has been always held by men.
She was president of the Legacy Widows for nine years and co-ordinator of the War Widows Guild Club.
Marie also volunteered at the Saint Vincent de Paul for several years and Saint Therese Mission stall. Add to that her devotion to Saint Patrick's Catholic Church for as long as we can remember.
Then there was her working life at Berlei and The Small arms Factory as a machinist.
In later life she loved to bowl and socialise and would often be seen with her two sisters Shiela and Phyllis, better known by the locals as the 'Golden Girls'.
Marie was an organiser and if it had to be done, she was the person to do it. She was a socialite. She always had something on her social calendar right up until the very end.
She was well known, well respected and very much loved member of the community.
The family would like to make special mention and a huge thank you to Father Gary, Sister Ann, and the District Nurse Allannah, who assisted in making Marie's last days at home as comfortable as possible.
Marie is not gone, she will live in memories and the hearts of those who knew her. The family are comforted knowing she is in peace and that god may grant her a beautiful set of wings and perhaps a throne.
ALSO MAKING NEWS:
Paint the town red
With COVID stripping Marie of the massive requiem mass and large farewell that she was worthy of, the family has asked residents to pay their respects another way by displaying something red out the front of homes and businesses as a mark of respect. Marie loved her St George Dragons and her favourite colour was red.
A livestream of the service will be available from 12.45pm on Friday, September 27 and can be viewed for seven days. Link:https://www.facebook.com/Techybird-103050884680863
No flowers by request. Donations could be considered to the NSW Cancer Council or the Heart Foundation via their websites.