Nolan matriarch's pivotal role in family business's success
THE Nolan family lost its matriarch this week, with the death of Marie Nolan, at the age of 92.
Born Marie Patricia Johnson, her given names say much.
Her faith-filled parents chose to name her after Mary the Mother of Jesus in its French form, Marie, as her father had fought in the fields of France during World War I.
She was named Patricia to honour the feast of St Patrick on the day after she was born into a loving family of Irish descent from Waterford, Antrim and Tipperary who were drawn to Gympie gold.
Marie was born on Inglewood Hill in the bed her mother was born in, in the house her grandparents built.
As a lifelong resident, Marie was always fiercely proud of the Gympie region and its people and loved its beautiful and familiar rolling hills.
She ran in those hills with her precious brother Bill and her loved sister Ena (Hehir) in a childhood marked by the simple rhythms of farm life. She recounted often the joyous times when cousins and extended family visited.
Marie went to school initially at the Monkland Convent and then to the Gympie Convent School operated by the Sisters of Mercy.
After completing Junior she took a job doing office work, settling then for many years until her marriage, at Cullinanes Department Store in Mary Street.
Marie was clever, with a particular love for maths and a keen attention to detail, excelling in the accounts department.
In the mid-1950s, romance blossomed with a young butcher named Pat Nolan.
Courtship led to marriage, the blessing of six children (Michael, Clare, Tony, Terry, Mary and Helen) and the building and nurturing of a business to support them.
Each of her children has been inspired in their own lives by the way her strength and gentleness, combined so powerfully.
As well as being a wonderful mother, Marie's influence and work in the growing Nolan Meats' organisation cannot be overstated.
She gave tireless energy to it.
That influence and energy was also witnessed in the broader Gympie community and the Australian meat industry.
Each arrival of Marie and Pat's 15 grandchildren brought them great joy and pride.
Over the years, Marie enjoyed gardening, involvement in Rotary and in St Patrick's Catholic parish and the company of good friends.
Marie's home was a place of welcome and hospitality even when the songs went on and on and on - which they tended to do.
In the truest sense of the words, Marie lived a good life. She will be missed by those who loved her.
Marie will be farewelled today at a funeral in St Patrick's Catholic Church.