The Southern Cross : June 2010
obituaries The Southern Cross June 2010 Page 21 www.adelaide.catholic.org.au Renowned for his check shir t and akubra, his love of gardening and his sense of humour, Wally West was a willing worker for the Knights of the Southern Cross Southern Fleurieu Branch. Born in Poland in 1929, Wally was brought up on the land. His parents were farmers who supplemented their income by bar tering with neighbours and in local markets. His father Vincent died in a farming accident when Wally was 7 and he was left to make a living with his mother Ann and his two sisters. At 12, Wally was taken abruptly by the Germans and used as forced labour working in a munitions factor y somewhere near Dresden. Little is known about this experience but the things he saw, heard and felt had a lasting impact. When the Americans liberated the area, they taught Wally to drive and he spent a couple of years transpor ting army personnel from place to place. In late 1949 he travelled to Australia on an old Greek liner -- arriving in the blazing heat of Summer -- one of the many things he was to get used to in his new countr y. Upon arrival, he had several jobs, including tractor driver at the Islington Railway yards. After a shor t term, he star ted as a deliver y man at a city warehouse, where he worked for 15 years. It was here that he met a young widow, Dorothy, with a baby daughter, Robyn. They were soon an 'item' and in no time were thinking about buying a home and having children -- three in fact -- Graham, David and Andrea. Wally's home was his castle and he devoted himself to setting up his garden. Ever y spare moment was spent improving the soil, watering, planting vegetables, and pruning fruit trees. His hours of toil benefitted not just his immediate family but relatives, friends and neighbours. Wally always gave away the quality produce and the family ate the peaches and apricots that fell to the ground. A firm believer in an honest day's work for an honest day's pay, Wally star ted working with ETSA in 1968 and when he star ted getting over time, he stopped driving taxis on the weekends, something he'd been doing for over 10 years. Wally par ticularly enjoyed picnics in the Adelaide Hills and down at Aldinga Beach with his children and extended family. His contentment with this 'simple life' was sometimes interrupted. As with others who have suf fered traumatically, Wally endured periods of anguish. His affinity with nature -- especially birds and animals -- saw him feeding maggies, dogs, cats, guinea pigs, canaries, chooks and he even placed corks in the bird bath so that the bees could rest while they drank. In 1993, Wally found it difficult to leave his life's work in his home at Stur t. Together he and Dorothy established a new home and garden at Goolwa. The pumpkins were well and truly established in the back garden when the house was just a shell. Wal's love for fishing blossomed and he spent many hours catching dinner at Beacon Nineteen and Sugars Beach. Wally was invited to join the Knights of the Southern Cross and always felt most comfor table outside with a spade in his hand, doing any job that needed to be done around the church grounds. He was heavily involved in the development of the Fr Ward Memorial Garden and maintenance of the Por t Elliot Cemeter y. He had an unflinching faith and trust in his God and Church. His sense of humour, spontaneous banter, smiling countenance and friendly personality will be sorely missed. A South Australian Catholic Family Company Proudly S.A. owned Metropolitan & Country 13 Sturt Road, Brighton SA 5048 24-Hour Service Greg O'Neill Steven Farrell Mobile: 0421 654 427 email@example.com 'Excellence without extravagance' 8296 3134 Pre-Paid Funeral Plan available with An affinity with nature Wally West (Wojskowicz) March 26, 1929 -- February 24, 2010 Called to service Sr Helen Therese O'Brien rsm December 6, 1938 -- March 3, 2010 Helen O'Brien was the youngest of four children and attended St Joseph's Whitefriars at Woodville, then Mt Carmel's Girls Secondar y School. She matriculated from St Aloysius College before entering the novitiate of the Sisters of Mercy at Angas Street. During 20 years of teaching in Mercy schools in South Australia, Helen was seen to have an innate concern for those less for tunate, and she developed a passion for justice and equality. One example of this was when she helped to set up a Justice Conference in Pt Augusta with a special focus on the rights of indigenous Australians. In 1978, Helen went to Papua New Guinea as editor to the publications of the Melanesian Institute, which had been set up to research and implement the social, pastoral and cultural changes recommended by Vatican II. She quickly settled into the ecumenical setting and was valued for her practical, determined, intelligent and professional approach to work. Three years later, in 1981 Helen was elected by the four groups of Mercy Sisters in PNG -- Goroka, the Western Highlands and Enga Province, the vast Wewak diocese and the nursing community in Aitape -- to be the first national leader of the sisters. Helen quietly went about encouraging the sisters from dif ferent foundations to join together to form one united group. Helen had qualities of conviction and prophetic insight as she forged the way ahead in changes in religious life after Vatican II. It seems she felt an extraordinar y spiritual call to ser vice and mission that enabled her to overcome difficulties of poor health, danger on the roads and facing the unknown.