JOY TO HER WORLD
By SALLY GORDON
WHATEVER the issue, Joy was there pushing, shoving and recruiting for the cause and captivating all those around her.'
Even in death, Joy Mathews, 61, who died last Thursday from a brain tumour, captured the hearts and boosted the spirits of mourners with a colourful funeral, which began to the sounds of Van Morrison and The Beatles.
Family and friends began to file into the St James Anglican Church at Maclean 45 minutes before the 10.30am service began.
By the time Reverend Angela Dutton gave her opening address, the pews were packed and side walls lined with well-wishers. The Mathews family had requested that yesterday's service be a celebration of Joy's life, and that it was.
A festoon of happy face helium balloons adorned the church, and Joy's coffin was a bed of colourful flowers, draped in hats, scarves and Hawaiian-styled leis.
It was also a fitting coincidence that Joy's final farewell fell on World Environment Day.
Clarence Valley Council mayor Ian Tiley told the congregation that Joy's greatest issue and cause in public life was the environment.
He added that as a councillor Joy operated with her ear to the ground and was always there for the people.
"Her immense selfless and often deeply personal contribution to her beloved community and the manner in which she engaged and loved the people she worked so tirelessly to represent is exceedingly difficult to do justice," Cr Tiley said.
The mayor went on to detail Joy's highly successful career in local government after she first 'romped it in', during the 1991 Maclean council elections.
Hugh Ermacora, a council colleague and friend, said he met Joy 10 years ago at a local government conference, when she was mayor of Maclean.
"At this conference there was a sea of grey suits and in that sea of grey, there was colour and movement, there was a mover and shaker," he said of Joy.
Eulogies also were given by Joy's best friend Wendy Close, and her son Angus Booker.
A teary Angus tried his utmost to keep his goodbye light-hearted.
His touching speech was littered with funny insights into Joy's life as a mother and councillor.
Mr Booker described his Mum as the personification of 100 per cent and said everything she did, she did with commitment.
The hour-long service ended to the sounds of a lone bagpipe and was followed by an informal service at the Maclean RSL.