Outstanding nurse, outstanding humour and kindness

Judith Ann McDonald (née Foy)
6 June 1936 – 13 September 2006

Judy (as she was known to her friends) spent her childhood in Granville in Western Sydney with her loving parents, two sisters Pamela and Dianne, and brother, Michael. She often spoke of those happy days, and the family outings in her father’s car and picnics by the creek.

Judy began her nursing training at St Joseph’s Hospital in Auburn. It was to be a career that spanned over 40 years, and Judy brought it her own special qualities of loyalty, empathy and kindness in the light of her deep Catholic faith.

Judy was a supportive colleague, always ready to lend an ear to another’s problems, and to offer encouragement. She was so proud to be a nurse, and this pride and love of her craft remained with her until she reluctantly retired.

Judy was also well known for her sense of humour. Her sister Dianne remembers they could see the windows on the top floor of the hospital from their home. They would watch for a towel fluttering in one of the windows, this was Judy cheekily letting them know she was thinking of them.

In those days the life of a trainee nurse was tough – shifts were often split, there was a lot of heavy lifting and basic care to be carried out, not to mention all the repetitive cleaning chores – but Judy took it all in her stride.

After she finished her training, Judy went to Launceston, Tasmania, to study midwifery with a group of her colleagues from St Joseph’s Hospital. Her family were very proud of her when she graduated and was placed fifth in the state.

Returning to NSW, Judy then went to Brewarrina Hospital then Warrinella Private Hospital in Granville, and Albury Hospital. She worked at State Rail for some years before going to Port Macquarie and working with disabled children.

Returning to Sydney, she worked at Lidcombe Hospital, then Health 24 Medical Centre, Merrylands, and Merrylands Nursing Home.

Sadly, Judy’s sister Pam became ill and Judy helped to care for her until she died. After she died Judy played an important part in the life of Pam’s daughter, Allison. Then Judy’s mother became ill and she cared for her also, until she died.

Judy married and had an adored son, Douglas, and she was later to be a fond grandmother to his two children, Kurt and Jessica, and mother in-law to Leanne. She was always a loving sister and aunt, even when her own health was failing.

Judy was already in poor health when she made her final move to Cairns to be close to her sister, Dianne and family. At first she worked at Mary Potter Nursing home, then briefly at the Freemasons’ nursing home until she was unable to work any longer.

Judy lived alone for some time but was eventually admitted as a resident to the Freemasons’ home. She died after a long and miserable illness. She is greatly missed by her friends and family, and her beautiful smile will always be remembered.

By Sylvia Ajaj, RN, Canterbury
Community Health, and Gloria Gray, RN, Auburn District Hospital.