Yesterday was the one year anniversary since my Wife's Aunty, Doreen Dunning died. I have posted this eulogy in remembrance of a fine Christian Lady.
Eulogy for Doreen Dunning
Thank you on behalf of Doreen’s family for coming here today to remember and give thanks to God and pay tribute to and celebrate the life of Doreen. Aunty Doreen to most of her family today except her sister Audrey who is here from Renmark, and other Renmarkians as well.
Muriel Doreen Dunning ,Doreen to most people was born on 14/9/13 in Bartels Nursing Home,Pennington Terrace .Her father was Alfred Berthold Rosenberg and her mother was Winifred Hilda Lydia Rosenberg .
She lived in Adelaide for a while where from what we know her Father was Hotelier but when quite young she moved to Adelaide but spent much of her early years living on the family farm at Kunlara with an older brother Laurie who is deceased and younger Sister Audrey, who is my wife Lesley’s mum.
She was married to Harry Dunning on the 15th March 1946 by Reverend William Charles Brooker at his residence at “Lochiel” 20 Divett Place at Alberton. They were separated by Harry’s death at the age of 98 on new years day in the year 2000. They did not have any children.
Doreen was very fond of children and for many years was a tireless worker who became State director of Child Evangelism Fellowship International. More about that later.
Doreen was a remarkable lady who grew up up in an era where life was lot harder than it is now.She rode to school in a horse and cart and milked cows on the family farm and did other chores.
Here are some of her own words.
“I began school at Kybobolite in 1917.
We lived in a large house –railway ran past the side of the house,pine trees all down 2 sides of the block.
No recollection of how we moved and why.
Settled in Kunlara approx 1919.Only 2 of us Laurie and I .
Laurie was 2 years older than I and died of a tumor at the age of 62.
When I was 10 years old a baby sister happened along named Audrey who is now Audrey Foweraker.
My brother and I had to got to school at Copeville approx 5 miles from Kunlara.
We drove in a sulky with a horse named Barney.
At the Copeville school we would have been 15 scholars and in that 15 were 3 Doreens. Lee, Burdett and Rosenberg.
Later when Laurie left school I had to ride a horse, a white horse which had been a cast off race horse..I was a skinny timid little thing but somehow managed to get to and fro.
Finally my father must have bought a little black Shetland pony, that was better.When the pony had a sore foot or for other reasons I would walk to school along the railway line. I think the train only ran twice a week. We would get our provisions by train, bread etc.
Don’t remember how we received the paper maybe weekly.
My mother was making baby clothes , the usual baby gowns which were worn at that time and of course I couldn’t believe this “baby “ talk and I was sure they were for me.
I would hold one up against myself and being so tiny was sure it was for me.
When the baby was about to arrive my mother took my brother and I to stay with Grandmother Stoeckel who lived in Paringa.Eventually I had a baby sister.
Kunlara was a very dry area , virgin land and many acres of mallee were cleared with horses drawing heavy rollers.Then the wood was burnt. The stumps had to be gathered and thrown into heaps and we children had to help after school..They were hard days, we were brought up “ under the thumb”.
After the seed had been sown and harvested we had to help stack the hay and later sow up the bags of wheat with a large needle and twine in the blazing heat.Then help feed the machine when the hay had to be put into the chaff cutter for feed for the horses. We had cows and pigs and they all had to have attention.
I left school at 14 and Audrey attended Kunlara school.
Well there was little visitation as it was all horse and cart conveyance and people didn’t visit very much.
There was football in season and following the football would be the local dance ,people came from all over.
They were great days. The mums and dads would dance and we younger ones all learned to dance also and supper followed. That was at Galga.
Occasionally we went to the Lutheran Church which also was at Galga near the local store. Dances were also held at Copeville and were very well attended.”
Her sister Audrey can remember often the sing songs around the piano in the family home and how fond Doreen was of the dances.
In her working life she was in the early days a shop assistant and in the 2nd world war 2 she went to Adelaide to work in a Munitions factory but the majority of her employment over the years was in her own business which was a Ladie’s Frock shop which in the latter years was in Hutt Street in Adelaide. (Co incidentally it was in that time that my Dad met her well before I ever did as she used to buy material from a wholesaler where he worked.)
Aunty Doreen always had an eye for nice clothes and was always concerned to be well presented in her appearance.
Church was always a part of Doreen’s life as a young person as it was for so many people of her era but in later years she came into her Christian faith with a much stronger conviction.She supported many Christian workers and organisations financially and in prayer and by writing to them.
Over the years she was involved with and attended several Churches including Cheltenham, Queenstown ,Semaphore and Mile end and Grote Street churches of Christ. Grote street now is called the Market Place Church and meets on South Terrace and Bronte is the current senior Minister there.
Doreen loved children and in the last couple of years she became very fond of our grandson Lucas and also she loved it whenever children of friends visited her at Parkrose and Reynella and especially when some would sing for her.There are some here today who she loved much.
For many years Doreen was involved in Child Evangelism Fellowship International where the main activity was teaching children about Jesus in what were called 5 day clubs and using a little booklet called the wordless book to share the Gospel.
She became the South Australian Director of CEF and for many years operated a cef shop from the back of her garage at Seaton.This was stocked with many studies and teaching aids for the Children.
Pauline met Aunty Doreen in one of those clubs and a long friendship developed and Pauline took over as State Director when Doreen retired from that position.
See a later post on this blog on CEF.
See a later post on this blog on CEF.
Doreen also loved being involved with Manna International and used to love teaching that emphasised the promise of Jesus in the Bible that he would one day return for His church.
Doreen was always concerned that people understood the Gospel and was one of the first people to confront Lesley and myself about the claims of Jesus and had a lot to do with why we are Christians to this day.
I met Lesley when she came to Adelaide from Renmark to start nursing at the age of 17 and she was boarding with Uncle Harry and Aunty Doreen at Seaton.
Aunty Doreen had a side to her that we were able to see often possibly more so than others. She had an infectious giggle that if she got started and found something funny she could not stop.
Some years back she and Uncle Harry were at Renmark with family celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. There are some photos here today from that occasion.
I was setting up a cake cutting photo and suggested it was traditionally that you should kiss after you cut the cake. Aunty Doreen started to giggle and could not stop.After a while I suggested that they practice a kiss first and, at that, Uncle Harry said “I don’t need any practice and sat down.” That started her off for another 5 minutes. We eventually got the cake photo minus the kiss. I do have that all on video but you will have to wait for the documentary to come out to see it.
Apart from being a very conscientious reader of the Word Doreen also collected lots of written down jokes and has often told us that she would sit down and read them and have a good laugh and handed the clippings on to Lesley suggesting that one day she might like to do the same particularly in her old age.
Aunty Doreen has a very rich and busy life and was in touch with many people both in Australia and overseas. She contributed financially to many Christian causes .
She touched many people’s lives and many touched hers and ministered to her in her later years in particular.
We have many fond memories as a family and Cathy and Richard particularly remember her baking prowess and in particular David was fond of her Peppermint slice.
I also remember her cooking particularly when Uncle Harry and I made a camping trip to the Flinders Ranges when he was 90. She cooked for us and every thing that was packed was dutifully labelled and people wandering past our campsite were envious of the food we were eating and the aromas from the things I was heating up on the camp stove.
When in later years she used to come and stay at Renmark she used to call Dud and Audrey’s property Pepper Tree Farm. When she broke her arm after she had just moved into Parkrose village and she spent a time of recovery there, she renamed it Peppertree Nursing home..
One of her sayings we all remember when in her 90’s was “I think I’m getting like the old people.” If you were a bit overweight she would quietly comment sometimes “he’s been sitting too close to the table.”
Aunty Doreen like Uncle Harry were not really into highlighting what they had done in their lives and both were not keen on having an ostentatious funeral.
Aunty Doreens’ main concern in life was that people would come to know Jesus as Lord and Saviour and I know that that would be the thought that she would want people to take away from this ceremony today that if in any way you or I had been touched by her life it wasn’t her doing but the work of God’s Holy Spirit and that we should all think afresh after today about the claims Jesus has made and our response to Him.
In recent weeks when she had a bad turn and started to deteriorate in he health she in the course of each conversation would say “I would like to be well again” , and in almost the same breath “ I am ready to die.” Indeed the day before she died she said to Lesley “I dreamed that today was my last day.”
It is wonderful to know that Doreen has now already met her saviour and has entered into eternity in an even more fuller way than she already had.
On behalf of her family who are here today and some who could not make it I would like to thank you all for coming and the friendship and love you have given to Doreen over in some cases many years, both practical and spiritual help.Close friends Pauline and Jan and Lyall have been faithfull friends for many years and there are so many others. Once I started naming them all we would be here for another hour so I will choose not to at this stage.
We can celebrate her life and Faith and remember her and Uncle Harry as we have supper today and you are encouraged to share your Aunty Doreen stories with each other. There are also some photographs and some other things for you viewing out the front here.
|Last birthday a few weeks before Doreen died|
|He Bible and note books in the Nursing Home.Her Bibles were very well worn and marked with notes.|