LOCAL IDENTITY: Gloria Reyher, who passed away on December 28, will be sadly missed by the Childers community.
LOCAL IDENTITY: Gloria Reyher, who passed away on December 28, will be sadly missed by the Childers community. Contributed

Pillar of Childers community remembered

ABOUT 200 people last week turned out to celebrate the life of local identity Gloria Bessie Reyher (nee Swanton), who passed away on December 28 at the age of 80.

Known as the lady with a big heart to match her big sense of humour, Mrs Reyher has left a gaping hole in the Childers community.

Her long list of community involvement over the years, including her role in the Local Ambulance Committee, Catholic Church, Choral Society and as a corrective services officer, along with other community service activities, is a reflection of her passion for her town and the people in it.

She performed an integral role in the Local Ambulance Committee for more than 25 years and was instrumental to improvements to the service.

Local ambulance officer-in-charge Gary Cotterill has fond memories of Mrs Reyher.

"Her service has been wonderful. She's been the stalwart of the community and was very well respected," Mr Cotterill said.

"She was very good to make sure things were done for the community.

"Her attention to detail with things involving the community is second to none. She really put an effort into things like that.

"Her life was the community and she put every waking moment into it ... she's sadly missed."

Ambulance Committee chairman Phil Dowling echoed the sentiments of Mr Cotterill, who said Mrs Reyher was committed to the service and was always proactive in getting new equipment

"She was an active member and a good member ... always a bit of a larrikin," Mr Dowling said.

"Even when she went to Forest View she still attended meetings."

The local Catholic church was another great passion of Mrs Reyher's.

Parishioners said often they would find her at the church, carrying out her Sacristan duties.

So much so, the running joke was that she needed a bed at the church.

There was no doubt that she took her role at the church seriously, making sure everything was in order, from looking after the masses, setting up for weddings and attending to all finer details, such as ensuring new candles were bought.

Over the past eight years, since the passing of her husband, Tom, Mrs Reyher was a resident of Forest View Hostel.

"Gloria certainly was a lovely lady and it was our pleasure to look after her at Forest View. She had a terrific sense of humour and always had fun with the staff and was interested in what was going on in their lives," Forest View Childers chief executive officer Jenny Nixon said of Gloria.

"The other residents adored her and she will be sadly missed."

My life, by Gloria Reyher

I WAS born in Childers on June 15, 1933, to my parents, John and Margaret Swanton.

I had two sisters, Nell and Eileen, and I was the youngest child.

Growing up I lived in Cordalba and went to the Cordalba School.

I used to walk to school and eventually I got a bike for Christmas and could ride to school.

This was not without incident though when a boy ran me off the road with his bike and I ended up in the creek with wet schoolbooks.

As a child I learnt the piano (this was something expected) and I used to have to do a lot of practice.

On weekends I was allowed to have other children come over to our house to play.

High school was in Childers and I left school at the age of 16.

After school I went nursing at the Isis District Hospital in Childers and later worked at the Holy Spirit Hospital in Brisbane.

While living in Brisbane I enjoyed going ballroom dancing.

A favourite posh place that I used to dance was at the Cloudland Ballroom.

Going to a dance at Apple Tree Creek one night I met my future husband, Tom Reyher.

Tom's parents used to own the Apple Tree Creek Hotel.

We married about four years later and had three children - Margaret, Mary (who sadly died at one day old) and John.

I stayed at home to raise my children when they were young and then returned to nursing, working at the hospital for 10 years on night duty.

I enjoyed this time with the exception of one thing.

I dreaded when a patient would pass away in the middle of the night and we had to put them on the rickety trolley and push them down a long cement path in the dark to the mortuary.

If the horse in the paddock behind whinnied we would jump with fright and nearly lose the patient off the trolley!

Tom worked for Bob Fitszimmon's garage and RACQ for his working life.

We were also both very active in community groups, holding executive positions in the Local Ambulance Committee and Tom as president of the fire brigade.

We were pleased to be involved with the ambulance committee and see Childers get a new and much needed ambulance centre.

We both loved the carefree lifestyle of living in a small country town and it was a great place to raise our children.

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