A generous spirit

Judy Heron
17 September 1951–2 June 2009

When we think of Judy, we think of unending courage and cheerfulness in the face of ill health, but her life was also one of great optimism and good humour. Her chief attribute was a concern for others. She was a diligent and competent nurse and a caring daughter, sister and aunt. Judy was also a wonderful friend to many.

Judy was born Judith Heron in Temora. She was one of the four children of James and Joyce Heron. Her siblings were Peter, Anne and Barbara. She was also aunt to Peter’s children, Sarah and Jacob.

Judy disliked being called Judith, but put up with being called Hank as a nickname for many years. She was a good student. After completing her School Certificate, Judy completed a shorthand-typing course at Temora TAFE, before beginning her nursing training at Temora Hospital. Many staff members at Temora would remember her training with them.

After completing her training, she shared a flat with her sister Anne in Randwick when Anne went to university. She worked at Penny Craig Nursing Home in Randwick as a charge sister. Judy was to become Director of Nursing at several Sydney hospitals including Durham Lodge and Lochinvar Nursing. She was also employed as a charge sister at Wolper Jewish Hospital and the Sacred Heart Hospice and spent a considerable period of time working for the Petitt Nursing Agency. Her last appointment was as Nursing Unit Manager at Yasmar Detention Centre in Sydney. Judy also completed numerous nursing and professional development courses. She was appointed as a Justice of Peace in 1980.

Judy was a well-known and respected nursing sister in Sydney for more than 30 years. Although her last two years at Yasmar were dogged by ill health, she always fulfilled her duties with great care and diligence. Judy had unfortunately developed Hashimoto’s disease and consequently lost a leg in 2004. This ended her nursing career prematurely. Her nursing ability was such that people would comment on her ability to her parents in their shop. Judy also volunteered to help out in disasters such as Cyclone Tracy.

Despite her illness, Judy remained fond of life. She enjoyed socialising and would often hold lunch parties for friends and colleagues at her home. It was this home that she bought after many years of renting, that became a source of pride and independence for her. She enjoyed her home and her cat, Coco. Judy loved to socialise, not only at home but also in her younger days at clubs and parties. She enjoyed watching television, especially old movies. Her favourite show was All Saints.

Judy was extremely close to her mother, Joyce, who died one month before her. Judy and her mum spoke often on the phone and visited each other when they could. Judy’s friends became her mum’s friends as well. Joyce and Judy shared many common interests such as knitting and playing cards and watching AFL football and tennis on television. Judy had a great sense of humour and told anecdotes well. She often had funny stories to tell about her work. Judy was also close to her brother Peter throughout her life.

Judy had a great generosity of spirit, was very tolerant of others, and took an interest in other people’s welfare. She was a very compassionate person, who often helped friends and family. Judy often rang up to say, ‘How are you poppin?’ even when she was ill herself.

She spoke fondly of her friends, many made through her nursing jobs. Many of her friends from Yasmar kept in contact with her in her final years.

Judy died in Westmead Hospital on 2 June 2009. Her funeral service was held at Saint Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Temora on 10 June and internment took place at the Temora Lawn Cemetery.

By Anne Heron