Ally was our gracious and sweet, warm, clever, fun Aunty; a “fine lady” as my brother Steve Edwards said; and in my sister Francie’s words: “Ally always gave me a warm feeling; the image of her welcoming soft laughing blue eyes is as clear as if she were walking around my beautiful garden with me right now.”
Ally has always held for me, such a sense of our Dad, her much loved older brother Tony, who died far too young at age 39 in 1966. The love she held for him was profound. Each time we talked of Tony, Ally’s eyes would fill and a tremble would enter her throat – she adored him and grieved him, quietly and deeply, as she did for her mother Esther, and her father, Adrian.
My brother Pete and his wife Deb remember what a loyal sister Ally was to her and Tony’s brother David … whenever she entered the room in his later life, Dave’s eyes would light up and he would beam with delight. Bob, and Ally supported him when he lost his beloved wife Margery very suddenly and during the trials of the ensuing years in New York and stayed closely in communication during Dave’s return and final years in Sydney.
Living as we did, in her Australian homeland ‘across the ditch’, we didn’t have a lot of contact as kids, more so as adults; but we all remember Jolly visits as embodying the very best of our Edwards family; our Mum Susie dearly valuing the chance to keep alive our Edwards family connection and her own loving relationship with Ally.
I clearly remember spending a special day with them both laughing and crying together at Papa ‘Teddy’ Edwards’ home in Sydney, sorting out his lifetime possessions, around the time Ally took him home to NZ nurse him in 1976, before his death aged 79.
Uncle Bob has facilitated my spending really quality time with Ally in the last 10 years and together they have honoured me with the gift of holding the Edwards history, including a fascinating driving trip to the family properties from Goulburn to Bombala in southern NSW. My promise to them both is to further impart that history for our wider family, particularly the vital role that our Edwards and Wilson families have played in the shaping of Australia, including tales of men with big vision and tenacity, of gold rush days and chasing bushrangers, horsemen and settlers, surveyors, station managers, graziers, landholders, and more recently, doctors, scientists and lawyers.
In a phone conversation with Ally, just some 10 days before she died, discussing the diary of our ancestor Louisa Edwards (nee Battye), we talked of the line of independently intelligent, warm and gregarious Edwards and Wilson women we come from. What I know and observe (as one lucky enough to be a member of Ally’s wider family), is that she has most assuredly passed on her legacy to her warm, intelligent, loving and gregarious children and grandchildren … some of whom are pictured here at her gentle wake, following her loving funeral service, which I was honoured to attend in Palmerston North, last Tuesday September 11, 2018.
Ally was hugely loved, utterly loving and always, so very very lovable. She will stay alive in our hearts forever. RIP Aunty Ally…