Jaci Cartwright's history as a community campaigner

Jacalyn (Jaci) Cartwright

July 11, 1947 to December 13, 2012

Jaci was the daughter of Reba Chappell (dec) and Jack Chappell (dec), and older sister to Vicki Chappell (dec). Jaci was raised in Campbell, California. LISA TISDELL tells the story of a lady who was passionate about her family and her community... 

It’s obvious where Jaci’s strength and community spirit came from.

Her father Jack, a bronze star awarded returned serviceman, was involved in countless community groups, including the “American Legion”, fire department, neighbourhood patrol groups and local council. 

Sadly Jaci’s father passed away when she was just 17.

Jaci’s mother Reba was also heavily involved in the community in the United States in the emergency medical services and others, and later in her life in the Port Macquarie community where she was involved in the Port Macquarie Historical Society among many others, until her passing in 2006.

Jaci’s younger sister Vicki passed away on Christmas eve, 1983.

Jaci’s first child, Michelle, was born in Campbell, USA in May 1966.

Jaci started dating Stephen Cartwright in 1971 in Santa Cruz, California. 

They were married on November 24, 1973 and Stephen’s son, Steve Jnr, became part of their family.

Jaci and Stephen had a son together on June 21, 1976 and named him Christopher. 

The couple decided to pack up and move to Australia in 1980. They had never even visited Australia before.  Both Chris and Michelle went with them but Steve Jnr stayed with his mother in the US.

After landing in Sydney and buying a VW Kombi van, they travelled north, not going much further than Brisbane.  They were looking for a new home and a new start.

The family decided to head back to Port Macquarie – with its stunning natural beauty and friendly locals – and made an offer on a house at Lighthouse Beach. 

Michelle went back to the states to live with her father, and Steve and Jaci lived together at the same house for the next 31 years until Jaci’s recent passing.

Port Macquarie would also benefit from the family’s move here.

Jaci had an amazing memory, was well read and brought with her valuable accounting and computer skills.

Her first job was a secretary/book keeping position (old double entry) and after six months she jumped at the chance to get back into a law firm.

She started at Donovan Oates Hannaford Lawyers, with old style record keeping, and converted the firm into a state of the art totally computerised law firm.

Jaci later moved into a role with Donovan Oates Hannaford Mortgage Corporation.

Jaci and family loved the outdoors and made many trips to the local beaches and mountains.

But by 1990, Jaci and her husband Stephen began noticing growth and development changes.

They attended their first meeting of the Port Macquarie Conservation Society.

For the next 22 years, Jaci continued to work hard in her career but she also became active in a number of community and environment groups addressing a variety of issues. Community issues close to her heart ranged from saving Westport foreshore to preserving the historic courthouse.

Jaci was a foundation member of Forest Watch and spent many weekends monitoring and surveying forests for logging breaches.

She learned the importance of politics early on and was active in nearly every council, state and federal election since 1985, supporting candidates and agendas which she thought best suited the community and environment.

Apart from being active in the community, some of Jaci’s happiest times were spent camping, hiking and spending time with her family.

She especially loved enjoying time with her granddaughter Dakota (14) and grandsons Jasper (9) and Marley (4).

Jaci will be dearly missed.

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