Elizabeth Olive Brittain
18/05/1933 – 9/05/2018
Our deepest sympathies and Christian love go out to the Brittain and Southwell families as they mourn the loss of their loved one, Elizabeth Olive Brittain (Southwell).
Elizabeth (also known as Mum, Nan, Betty, Aunty Betty, Bet, and Sr. Brittain) was a remarkable person, an inspiration to many. Her thoughtfulness towards others left an indentation in the lives of many. She will be remembered for her adventurous spirit, her kindness, helpfulness, hard-working, cheerful personality, and being a social butterfly, always looking forward to attending some social event whether it be conferences, camps, day trips, youth outings, weddings, cooking demonstrations, you name it, and she was ready to go… Often, she was the first one to register for events well ahead of time.
Her life was a life fully-spent being a wonderful mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, enjoying travelling, visiting, knitting, and gardening. Music also played a very important part in Elizabeth’s life. There were many favourite hymns on her list, but these are the ones that she especially asked to be sung at her funeral: “Until Then” (which she was heard singing while doing the washing at the end of camp last year at Elim Heights), “I’ll meet you in the morning” and “We’ll Never Say Goodbye in Heaven”. What beautiful words and sentiments are expressed in these songs.
My heart can sing when I pause to remember, A heartache here is but a stepping stone
Along a trail that’s winding always upward, This troubled world is not my final home.
But until then my heart will go on singing, Until then with joy I’ll carry on
Until the day my eyes behold the city, Until the day God calls me home.
The things of earth will dim and lose their value, If we recall they’re borrowed for a while;
And things of earth that cause the heart to tremble, Remembered there will only bring a smile.
Elizabeth had a gift for memorizing Scripture; she often recited Bible verses and even full chapters. Two of her favourite verses were: Isaiah 41:10 “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” and “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” Psalms 119:165.
Elizabeth and Neville (her husband), already in their golden years but both being adventurous, decided to take on the challenge of being caretakers of Elim Heights Youth Camp. They were able to spend several years enjoying the beautiful quiet surroundings of Melong and did a wonderful job as caretakers, for which we are very grateful. From there, they moved to their final place of residence at the Kings Langley Adventist Retirement Village.
We look forward to the day when Sister Brittain will awake from the sleep of death, and meet together with us again at Jesus’ feet. Elizabeth will be missed by many.
“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.” John 14:1-4.
“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”
~ Lidia Voncina
Memories of Elizabeth Brittain as portrayed by her family:
Elizabeth Olive Southwell was born on 18th May 1933 in Lakes Entrance, Victoria. She was the third child of Bryce and Myrtle Southwell. Her siblings were: Norman (who died a 3-month-old baby), Patricia, Ilene (died as a young lady), Mervyn, Gordon & Clyde.
The Southwell family moved from Lakes Entrance to a number of places before settling in Eden, NSW, where Myrtle was kept busy looking after the children. Bryce, being a fisherman, had a beautiful fishing boat. Elizabeth enjoyed going on the boat with her father and has for the remainder of her life enjoyed sailing, boats and being on the water. Elizabeth’s father also had a mail run from Eden to the lighthouse keepers at Gabo Island, and Elizabeth together with her sister Patricia loved to go with their Dad on the mail run. Often her father would take all the children for a ride in his boat. Elizabeth was an adventurous girl from a very young age and would give anything a go until she physically couldn’t do it anymore, this included trying to keep up with some of the church young people, hiking through the track at the Three Sisters in Katoomba and ending up in a helicopter ride to Nepean Hospital with a broken hip.
Elizabeth did her intermediate school certificate in Bombala and then took a job in Bega doing bookkeeping. When Elizabeth was 16 years old, the family moved to Hebron Missionary College. Classes used to start at 5:00am, and then in the afternoons they used to work in the paddocks and in the orchards picking and packing fruits and vegetables for the markets. It was at Hebron that Elizabeth got to know a young man named Neville Brittain, who eventually would become the love of her life.
Elizabeth also worked at the Elim Health Centre, 42 Prospect Road, Summer Hill. There she learnt how to give great massages and hydrotherapy.
While her sister Patricia was very sick with gastroenteritis, Ilene and Elizabeth went to look after her. Unfortunately, they also contracted the disease so badly that Ilene passed away just before her 18th Birthday and Elizabeth lost all her hair. At that time Elizabeth was 19 years old.
Neville was working in WA, where he was in charge of starting up a clinic. While there, he and Elizabeth regularly corresponded. When Neville came back to Sydney for the end of the year conference, they were asked if their relationship was serious, and it was, so wedding plans were started. On the 12 April 1953, Elizabeth and Neville were married at Hebron. They began their honeymoon travelling from the east coast to the west coast of Australia along with Elizabeth’s Mum and Dad and her brothers Gordon and Clyde. Elizabeth and Neville did this trip across Australia many times after this, often in the hot summer in a vehicle without air-conditioning.
Their first son Keith was born in Western Australia on 13 April 1955. Then they moved back to Sydney where, on the 21 January 1957, Barry was born. While in Sydney Elizabeth learnt to drive and worked at Hopewood Health Centre. Then Roy was born on the 10th April 1959, then Julie on the 25th June 1961. A few years later, on 13 July 1966, Geoffrey arrived. The call then came for them to move back again to Western Australia where, eleven years after Geoffrey was born, Cathy surprised everyone; she was born on the 21st May 1977.
In 1979, Neville answered a call for a worker in South Africa; so once again with her love of adventure, Elizabeth, Keith, Geoffrey and Cathy moved to Johannesburg. There Elizabeth went to a night school and continued her book-keeping studies, so she could assist with the accounts, and also did a typing course. She used to type the Children’s Sabbath School lessons on a manual typewriter.
After being away in South Africa for 9½ years they returned to Sydney, Australia to live close to her mother once more, leaving Geoff with his new wife behind. They moved back into the old residence next door to her mum and her sister Pat where together they helped look after Elizabeth’s mum.
This pleasure was not to last long. Neville was asked to move to America to work there, but Elizabeth didn’t want to leave her mum behind, so she stayed here to hold things together, taking on responsibilities she once thought too difficult and became fiercely independent. This provided opportunities for her, Keith and Cathy to travel the world a little and visit with Neville. This added to her list of adventures.
When Neville returned, they needed to adjust again to everyday life together. However, it didn’t take long, and their determination and love for each other shone through. On the day of their granddaughter Amanda’s wedding to Adam, they celebrated their 60th Wedding Anniversary.
After Neville had been diagnosed with stomach cancer, they worked on their bucket list of things to do together, one being to travel on the Ghan, which they did from North to South, a gift from their children for their 60th Wedding Anniversary.
Elizabeth was devoted to Neville. She cared for him as his health deteriorated until he passed away on March 28th, 2014. Although she must have missed him terribly, she took on adventure after adventure ticking off her own bucket list including a cruise around New Zealand, flying to Perth on numerous occasions, and many little trips with her wonderful friends she made at the retirement village. Her last planned trip, a visit to Eden and Bega districts again for a last time, was left undone; but we will do this one for you!
Rest In Peace!
Memories of my mother
By Julie (Brittain) Stevenson:
My earliest memories started in Wallacia, as we moved there when I was 6 months old. I remember Mum working at Hopewood Health Centre, gardening, making egg and lettuce rolls for tuck shop for school, learning to drive (with a tribe of kids in tow), teaching me to swim in the local river, teaching me to knit, amongst many other things.
When we were kids she would knit constantly! Especially in the car. All the way from Perth to Sydney and back! Click, click, click, click. That is, when she wasn’t driving with dad sleeping in the back of the station wagon with half us kids and the rest of us sitting in the front with her.
Now, one of my most memorable memories as a kid was walking into the kitchen every morning and she would be making fresh-squeezed orange juice and fruit salad. She did this all her life and enjoyed eating fruit salad till the end. She hated cooking and often said she wasn’t very good, but obviously some things were pretty good as I have now handed down some of HER recipes to MY children.
Gardening was one of her passions and she had the best veggie patch in Wallacia. She broke her hip back in 2001, and I called to see how she was after she got home and was told, hang on a minute I’ll just take the phone out to her as she’s just stuck in the front garden, gardening with her crutches! When they moved to Roanoke/Virginia she was very excited to have her own little garden there which she named Bette’s Patch; and although she had given up growing veggies a few years ago, she had cleaned out her flower patch the week before she went into hospital with the plan to replant some more flowers.
She was very social and hated missing out on any occasion. She was comfortable with all ages, but loved to spend time with young people, especially her grandchildren and her great-grandchildren.
She was fiercely independent and hated giving up driving but, in the end, decided that it was for the best as her eye sight was failing which was not a bad thing as she always had a bit of a lead foot and really couldn’t see how fast she was going.
As we all know, she was diagnosed with a liver tumor in October 2017 which we realised she must have had for some time. She elected not to have any treatment and to let it run its course. We can only be grateful that although she was tired and had a lack of appetite she lived life quite normally up to 3 weeks ago when she ended up in hospital for the last time. On the day that I took her to hospital she remarked to me that the cough that had plagued her the past 20 years had disappeared! Also, she was very proud of the fact that she had gained 2 kilos. Unfortunately, the cough going was probably due to the clots she had developed in her lungs and the 2 kilos was due to fluid retention. But hey, it made her happy.
Now, I don’t know how many people know, but her most used word was “sorry”. I’m sorry you had to do this or that for me. I’m sorry this or that happened to you. I’m sorry you had to take time off work for me. Mum, you never once did anything that you needed to be sorry for. In the hospital we finally convinced you that no sorry was needed. It was absolutely our pleasure to be able to help you.
At this point I would like to take the opportunity to personally thank everyone who helped Mum. Her church community, the retirement village community, her family and friends and the many medical professionals. There are some though that I would like to mention in particular as she often spoke of you. Susan, who she thought of as her third daughter; Veronica, who delivered juices to her daily which gave her strength to keep going when she didn’t feel like eating, and often gave her a lift to church; and Jill, who also often gave her lifts to where she needed to go. Thank you.
Also, thank you to Amanda, Cathy, Geoff and Cherylynn for being there with me and helping me throughout this whole process, doing what needed to be done.
During the last few days in hospital she mentioned a few times that she had so many visitors and it made her tired. We pointed out to her, that was because so many people cared about her and loved her. Yes, she said, and I love them.
Lastly, I must mention her quiet acceptance of her situation. Everyone must die of something, she said. Her absolute faith in the second coming of Jesus and her belief that she will once again see her loved ones made her passing very peaceful, and one of the last things she said was, “It won’t be long before I see Dad again”.
Mum, do you remember the conversation we had recently when I said I’m not a crier and you said no, neither am I? I can’t for the life of me remember what it was in reference to, but I have changed my mind; you have brought many tears to my eyes recently.
Goodbye Mum, we will miss you xx
Children: Graeme Keith Brittain, Barry Brittain, Roy & Melanie Brittain, Julie & Gary Stevens, Geoff & Cherylynn Brittain, Cathy & Dave Hall.
Grandchildren: Arron, Kylie, Amanda, Shawn, Rohan, Drew, Brett, Tyla, Devan, Tahlia, Mikayla and Ben.
Great-Grandchildren: Taj, Xavier, Mia, Brae, Phoenix, Rachel, Flynn, Rosabella, Sophie, Romey, Saxon and Sebastian, Curtis, Jack, Hayden, Cooper, Chase and Cassian.