He­lena leaves lov­ing legacy

Gatton Star - - News -

IN her 98 years, He­lena Auchter saw many life changes take place in her home town of Gat­ton.

She spoke fondly to her fam­ily of how kerosene lamps changed to elec­tric­ity, ice cup­boards to re­frig­er­a­tors/freez­ers, horse and cart to cars and watch­ing Neil Armstrong land on the moon.

Born on Septem­ber 5, 1917, dur­ing the First World War, to James and Jo­hanna Larkin of Gat­ton, He­lena’s fam­ily home still stands in Larkin St, where she grew up with her broth­ers and sis­ters; Joseph, James, John, Joan and Mar­garet. The fam­ily owned a small dairy and veg­etable farm, which en­com­passed most of Larkin St, stretch­ing through to Wil­liam and Cochrane Sts, Gat­ton. Lena’s trait of com­pas­sion, care and em­pa­thy for oth­ers in­deed was in­her­ited from her par­ents.

She at­tended Gat­ton Catholic School, and as a young teenager, she re­mained with her par­ents help­ing with the farm be­fore gain­ing em­ploy­ment as a book­keeper for a so­lic­i­tor on the Gran­ite Belt. She moved to this area to live, re­turn­ing of­ten to Gat­ton by bus to visit her fam­ily. It was dur­ing this time that she met Nor­man Roy Auchter, a debonair, hand­some me­chanic, who swept her off her feet. Norm would ven­ture to the Gran­ite Belt just to visit her, pro­ceed­ing to ask for her hand in mar­riage. . The ro­mance blos­somed and on Sun­day, De­cem­ber 12, 1937, they were mar­ried on the north side of Bris­bane. Norm and Lena hon­ey­mooned at Coolan­gatta. On their re­turn to Gat­ton, their new home was com­pleted be­side Lena’s par­ents’ house in Larkin St, where they resided for 62 years to­gether and af­ter Norm’s pass­ing; another 12 years for Lena.

Norm and Lena were blessed with the birth of their only child, John Richard, at the Royal Bris­bane Women’s Hos­pi­tal. John Richard was born on June 16, 1950.

When John was around teenage years, Lena ac­com­plished her de­sire for driv­ing a man­ual Holden ute. She was able to as­sist John with his driv­ing lessons. Norm how­ever quoted, “While I’m alive, I will drive!” In 1975, Norm and Lena trav­elled to Bris­bane to at­tend John’s mar­riage to El­iz­a­beth. In 1991, Lena and Norm be­came grand­par­ents for the first time to Kieran Ray­mond Larkin Auchter, re­tain­ing Lena’s fam­ily name Larkin, which is Ir­ish for Lawrence.Her home was known as the half­way house, as it al­ways had some­one there to have a cuppa and a bite to eat. Her home was open to all. On ar­rival, the very first thing Lena would do was to put the ket­tle on. “Cup of tea?” is what she would ask.

Lena and Norm faced many hard­ships, but en­dured these and re­mained true to each other for the 62 years of mar­riage. There was never a harsh word spo­ken or a raised voice. There was just the look they both un­der­stood.

Lena and Norm were avid pet lovers and their yard con­sisted of three yards – the house yard, the veg­etable and fruit tree yard and the yard for chooks and ducks. Norm and Lena were qui­etly proud of their achieve­ments. They reached their mile­stones of 25th, 50th and 60th wed­ding an­niver­saries. They both were able to celebrate their 90th birthdays, but un­for­tu­nately for Lena; she never got her de­sired wish to reach 100, to re­ceive the Queen’s let­ter. Her pass­ing was two days shy of her 99th birth­day.

Lena re­mained in her own house, un­til ill-health forced her to be placed in the Regis Val­ley Views nurs­ing home, which was not far away from her own home. She loved look­ing out of her win­dow, as it faced Larkin St.

Lena loved talk­ing to the res­i­dents and the staff, mak­ing many new friends along the way. Lena would al­ways in­quire about her fam­ily and how they were go­ing. It was in 2014 when the fam­ily no­ticed a change in her health, un­til her quiet pass­ing on Septem­ber 3 at 7am.

Her com­pas­sion, kind-heart­ed­ness, hu­mil­ity and all the lessons that her par­ents had taught her, were ex­tended to those who needed a hand.

She cared for her brother, her nieces when they needed re­coup­ing from ill-health, took on babysit­ting for neigh­bours, made lunches and din­ners for neigh­bours, es­pe­cially Lloyd Reinke and the Hood sis­ters who resided on each side of the fence, opened the house for rel­a­tives to stay, ei­ther short term or long term, loved hav­ing visi­tors, es­pe­cially young folk, hav­ing lots of laughs and spe­cial treats.

These peo­ple in her eyes were her friends. Lena was a keen lis­tener, but also pro­vided many, with kind words of wis­dom.

She was a very witty woman and loved hav­ing a joke or two. Her sto­ries were end­less and she loved hav­ing a laugh with those who would lis­ten to her sto­ries and jokes.

Laugh­ter def­i­nitely was the best medicine for her.

Af­ter Norm’s death, she joined the se­niors’ Club and ven­tured on bus trips that took her to places that ev­ery­one was amazed by. Lena re­mained a de­vout Catholic, at­tend­ing church most Sun­days and bap­tis­ing John in the Gat­ton Catholic Church. She had an amaz­ing long life, ex­pe­ri­enc­ing events, hap­pen­ings and changes that have oc­curred around the world that some may have never faced.

Born dur­ing the First World War, she ex­pe­ri­enced the De­pres­sion as a teenager.

As a young mar­ried woman, she felt the angst of the Sec­ond World War and as a mid­dle-aged woman felt the worry of the Viet­nam War, as John faced con­scrip­tion.

She also saw life changes, such as elec­tric­ity, milk­ing buck­ets and cans to glass milk bot­tles and then to car­tons, (a lot of the time pour­ing the car­ton of milk into the old milk bot­tles, be­cause she thought it made the milk taste bet­ter), brooms to vac­uum clean­ers, lo­cal shops to su­per­mar­kets, elec­tric­ity for lights, ra­dios and fans, black and white tele­vi­sion to colour tele­vi­sion, phones that were man­aged by op­er­a­tors to au­to­matic phones, win­dows wide open to elec­tric fans and then air-con­di­tion­ing and coal-pow­ered trains to diesel au­to­mo­tives to elec­tric trains and space travel.

She was in awe of all these changes. At 92 she con­sid­ered buy­ing a mo­bile phone as she thought she would be able to com­mu­ni­cate with fam­ily and friends more easily.

Lena will be dearly missed by her fam­ily and they are de­ter­mined for her life­long qual­i­ties to be car­ried on.

These qual­i­ties and the en­joy­ment of life have in­flu­enced her longevity.

Lena has been an in­te­gral part of Gat­ton’s history and Gat­ton has been re­warded by her life.

TRUE LOVE: He­lena mar­ried the love of her life, Norm on Sun­day, De­cem­ber 12, 1937, in north Bris­bane.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

He­lena Auchter lived a full life.

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