Friday, April 23, 2010

UNE passings - death of Cherry Robertson

My thanks to Gordon Smith for alerting me to this one and for sending me Jim Scanlan's email to UNE staff.

I was saddened to hear of the death of Cherry Robertson, someone who will be well known to many past UNE people.

Cherry died in Armidale on Friday 16 April. She was in her 100th year. Her four children – Suzanne, John, Richard and Stephanie – were with their beloved mother when she died.

Geraldine Edith (Cherry) Johnstone was born in Balmain, Sydney, in August 1910 and married Hugh Malcolm Robertson at Griffith, NSW, on Christmas Day 1936.

Cherry joined the staff of UNE in 1956 and played a major role in the establishment of two of the University’s residential colleges – Robb and Drummond. She is remembered by many for her intelligent, generous and compassionate service to the welfare of students at UNE over several decades.

Cherry published her first book in her UNE experiences in 1982. Long Youth Long Pleasure: Adventures clip_image001behind the scenes at the University of New England 1956-80 (Lightning Press) is a personal account of life at UNE that brings to life some of the detail of what was and is a unique institution. I have my autographed copy in front of me as I write. Then in 2009 a further book of writings, Cherry Robertson: Episodes in the life of a very special person, was published, illuminating  her achievements in those years, and in many other aspects of her well-lived life.

Cherry and Mack were good friends with my parents and often came our place for things such as Christmas Eve drinks. I know that she will be greatly missed. 

A Committal Service for Cherry was held at Piddington’s Funeral Home, Armidale, on Wednesday 21 April, followed by a Thanksgiving and Memorial Service at All Saints, Thalgarrah. Sadly, I could not be there. 

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