“She didn’t want to make a fuss”: Roma volunteer and OAM recipient Ann Gibbes passes away at 86
ANN Gibbes’ last requests before she passed away certainly matched the persona that was so loved by Roma.
“She didn’t want a memorial held in Roma. She said her goodbyes to all her friends and her exact words were that she didn’t want to make a fuss,” her daughter Annette Brennan said.
Ms Gibbes, OAM, died peacefully in her sleep on Friday at the age of 86.
The dedicated community member and volunteer, who was most famous during her later years of picking up rubbish during her morning walk, will be honoured in a funeral tomorrow in Brisbane.
Ms Brennan, who cared for her mother in the final months of her life, said she spent her final week reflecting on her achievements after several decades of putting others first.
“She had a scotch on her last night and she hadn’t had a drink in so long,” she said.
“That was really important that she (spoke to her friends and read supportive cards) and all of that and it was important for me to experience that before she left us.
“For a person that shunned accolades, to experience this and indulge herself was great.”
Ironically her greatest accolade came just before her death, as Ms Gibbes was awarded the Order of Australia Medal on the Queens’s Birthday for services to the Roma community.
Speaking just a week before she passed, Ms Gibbes said the OAM was merely a bonus to the satisfaction of helping out.
“I feel very honoured because I don’t thinking it’s handed out to everyone. It’s a great honour to me,” she said.
“The award is just a plus, but getting out and doing things has been one of my purposes in life.”
Mayor Tyson Golder, whose father Alf worked closely with Ms Gibbes to set up the Roma Rural Student Hostel, led the hundreds of tributes for her.
“She was passionate about the community, everyone knows the small thing about picking up the rubbish but there was a lot more,” he said.
“(She was) a very decent community-focus Roma-ite.
“These people... keep our communities together so I hope we can be as good as they were and she was,” he said.
Ms Brennan said the tributes for her mother showed how much impact she had had on locals.
“They sent such lovely things to her, and she was able to indulge herself in her private and family time, and that’s pretty special,” she said.
“We thought it was just beautiful.”
Ms Gibbes’ funeral will be held Centenary Memorial Gardens at Sumner at 10am.