13 December 1946 – 1 March 2010
Libby started her nursing life in 1964 with four years’ training at the Royal Children’s Hospital Camperdown and the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. She did a stint of agency nursing before having a break to have her three much loved children. She came back to nursing in 1976 at Dorrigo Hospital working in Accident and Emergency. A short stay at Macksville Hospital followed before she moved to Port Macquarie where she met the love of her life, Geoff, and they forged a great life together.
In Port Macquarie Libby worked at Hampsen’s Pathology, a private medical practice, Port Macquarie Private Hospital for 10 years, and then on to the Base Hospital for several years.
Wherever she worked, people were drawn to her. Doctors, nurses, wards men, cleaners, and patients – young and old – all felt the sense of confidence, safety and love she exuded. Her vitality and love of life was contagious and made everyone feel special.
Suffering fools poorly, especially the ever-present nursing hierarchy, Libby was fiercely loyal to her friends. Working a shift with her was always an adventure – one where your scope of vocabulary would expand greatly! Against all rules she would put on a theatre gown like a coat over her uniform and put flowers in her hair that she stole from the gardens.
Libby also championed good nurse morale and fitness. On quiet nights she would organise running races around the corridors to keep the night staff awake and energised. Punters club on Saturday mornings often took precedent over work, but ever mindful of patient care, they were included too. Saturday mornings were also for old-time singing. ‘Sweet Violet’ comes to mind and everyone had to join in loudly.
Our special Lunch-a-Lot Club, so named by another missing angel, was a time to catch up with old nursing friends and tell stories only nurses would laugh at – normal people would be horrified! The best lunches were always at Libby and Geoff’s, where she indulged her third love – after Geoff and her family, and nursing – the art of cooking, and it showed!
Libby and Geoff worked hard to bring their two families together, plus many grandchildren. With a love of the wide-open spaces, they built many lovely homes and memories including the tranquil-set property ‘Ellangee’. Here, Libby set out making it a true place to call home, losing herself in her widespread gardens and large bridged fishpond at her front door.
Libby fell ill in late 2009 and died suddenly after what was thought to be a successful surgery in the autumn of 2010. It is the greatest loss to family and friends as part of our hearts went with her, but also a great loss to the nursing world. We can be happy, at least, in the knowledge that a little piece of sunshine still resides in everyone she touched.
Compassion and common sense
Love and laughter
Humour and a sense of fun
Expertise and an inner light
Dedication and lots of loyalty
…and just a smidgen of wickedness!
Roll these all into one and her name is … Libby King!
By dear friends and work colleagues, Kaye Clark and Susan Peace
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