A Tale of Two Women

Two amazing women have just passed away, within hours of each other. One was well known by millions, and the Australian as well as world press have told her inspiring story as front page news. The other woman was just as inspiring and influential, but to a much smaller circle.

The big name of course was Dame Elisabeth Murdoch who has died peacefully in Victoria aged 103. The Murdoch media empire is of course well known throughout the world, but her son is only a part of her incredible legacy. Plenty of other tributes to her and write-ups about her are already available, so no need for me to do anything new here.

A few lines from the Herald Sun story will do: “The renowned community leader, charity worker, philanthropist and matriarch of Australia’s greatest media family will be mourned by countless thousands of Australians whose lives she has touched. She was the wife of Sir Keith Murdoch and mother of four children, including Rupert Murdoch….

“Dame Elisabeth devoted her life to helping others. She said it was the most important thing in life and the most rewarding. ‘Be optimistic – and always think of other people before yourself,’ she said in an interview to mark her 100th birthday.”

“She was known to have helped at least 100 organisations directly. But she also helped thousands of individuals, either with advice or by using her considerable influence and contacts. Her greatest monuments are the Royal Children’s Hospital and the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute.

“Lady Elisabeth, as she was then, threw herself into the work of the Royal Children’s Hospital after the sudden death of Sir Keith in 1952. Widowed at 43 and left to raise four children, she commuted to Melbourne almost daily from Cruden Farm to head the planning committee to relocate and build a new children’s hospital at Parkville. She was created a Dame the day the Queen opened the hospital.”

Yes she was an extraordinary woman. But much closer to home for me was a very similar lady. Her manner of life could also be distilled into the same sentence: “Be optimistic – and always think of other people before yourself.”

She brought joy, warmth and comfort into the lives of everyone she came in contact with. One did not hear her complain, although she went through the same trials and hardships as so many others have. She was always interested in others, and never brought attention upon herself.

I have known her for about half of my life and lived near her for most of that period. She was unique and someone who will be deeply missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing her. She was my mother-in-law Vivienne Horner who died at age 81.

Christmas this year will certainly be different without her. But the good news is she will be having a ball in her new home. We all miss her heaps already, and look forward to catching up with her again one day.


[501 words]

15 Replies to “A Tale of Two Women”

  1. Sorry to hear this news Bill! Please accept heartfelt condolences on your loss; especially for your wife. Words fall short in expressing sorrow. But I am confident there are many hearts standing with you at this time. The Lord be with your family!

    Chris McNicol

  2. I lost my father last year Bill and I can understand the pain. However, like you say, one day you will all catch up again and that’s a solid reality praise God!

    God be with you and your family at this time.
    Lee Wardle

  3. God bless you and your family Bill as you go through many seasons in the next few weeks of joy and rejoicing that you mother in law will be seen again by you in a new resurrected body. We also join you in sadness at the loss of a wonderful person.

    Paul and Alison Copeland

  4. Great words Bill! One of the women I had the extreme joy of knowing; the other would also have been a joy to know.
    Andrew Le Couteur

  5. Yes, lives well lived indeed. And my commiserations to you and your wife.
    David Williams

  6. May the very near presence of the Lord be with you and comfort you and your wife at this time. Holy to the Lord is the death of His Saints. What a wonderful heritage your family has.

    I know Mrs. Horner was very proud of you too!

    Sibyl Smith

  7. May the Lord comfort you and your wife and family during this time of sorrow, Bill. My prayers are with all of you.

    Mick Koster.

  8. So sorry to hear of your loss. Mother in laws are special.
    Judith Bond

  9. Dear Bill,

    our sympathy for you, your wife and family at this sad time. Thank God we believe life is changed not ended for those who love the Lord. Mrs Horner will be of great value to your important work in heaven.
    Paul Monagle

  10. Sympathy and prayers Bill to you and your wife and family.

    While we grieve for our loved ones who have been called home by their creator, you now have more support from on high which will enable you to continue your great work.

    May God shower your family with many blessings.

    Madge Fahy

  11. May the Lord provide you with comfort and solace on this sad occasion.
    Vivienne and the family will be in our prayers.
    Dunstan Hartley

  12. Please accept our sincere sympathy to your wife and yourself. You are in our prayers.
    Jerome and Gillian Gonzalez

  13. Sorry to hear of the death of your Mother-in-law. Condolences to your family.
    Kerry Hardwick

  14. Sorry to learn about your mother-in-law’s death. My sympathy to your wife and all your family.
    Graham Lawn

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