Daphne Johnston OAM has been farewelled by members of the community in a moving service on Thursday, February 8.
Tributes flowed for the woman who chose to serve the community to create better outcomes across a number of societal pillars.
St Peter the Fisherman Church Priest Michael Roohan delivered the homily and said as Daphne had been born in 1928, she grew up during the war era and developed specific characteristics as a result.
“These were people who were tough, resilient, cautious and independent," he said.
"Perhaps because of those early years was why Daphne had a burning determination that there should be something better.
“Indeed even at school Daphne was a protector of the weak and she never changed.”
“It was not simply what she did, it was the way she did it,” Priest Roohan said.
“Daphne really challenges each one of us to be the very best we can be and to help those around us.”
Daphne’s youngest son Michael delivered the words of remembrance at the funeral where he reflected on her life and his memories of her as a mother.
Former Port Macquarie-Hastings Council Mayor Ray Cooper said Daphne’s funeral brought together four mayors, three past and one who is currently serving.
“I have never experienced that before,” he said.
Mr Cooper said Daphne was elected to be on the board when councillors were known as aldermans.
“When Daphne joined council she told me she didn’t want to be an alderman but an alderwoman,” he said.
Mr Cooper said he will always remember Daphne as a woman who never went back on her word and would stand by what she believed in, no matter what.
During her time on council Mr Cooper said Daphne oversaw some difficult decisions including the privatisation of the hospital, amalgamation of community health and the expansion of Port Central.
Port Macquarie Hastings Council Mayor Peta Pinson said while she didn’t have the pleasure of serving alongside Daphne, her legacy will live on in the community.
Cr Pinson said she would have loved to have the opportunity to work with Mrs Johnston as she was truly an inspirational woman.
Federal Member for Lyne Dr David Gillespie
“Daphne has been a wonderful member of our community, always giving. She has been involved in many local community groups and organisations including the Red Cross and Meals on Wheels and served as an alderman and councillor on our council for 25 years, giving a significant amount of her time to make our community a better place,” Dr Gillespie said.
“I have always appreciated her words of wisdom and advice. Daphne was always respectful of others and told you exactly how she saw it.
“She has had a long and active life and I know many people would agree that our community is an even better place because of her many decades of community service.
“On behalf of my wife Charlotte and the broader community, I would like to express my condolences to Daphne’s family and pay tribute to a wonderful lady who gave so much to our community.”
Member for Port Macquarie Leslie Williams
“Daphne Johnston was an inspirational woman whose outstanding service to local government and the community of the Hastings was deservedly recognised with an OAM in 2005.
“She dedicated so much of her life to helping others and her 25 years on Port Macquarie-Hastings Council is testament to the respect and admiration that our local community had for Daphne.
“I recently visited Daphne at the nursing home and whilst she was in declining health the conversation was lively and inquiring and as always she was keen to get an update on local issues.
“The Camden Haven has lost a staunch and determined community advocate, a devoted and hardworking volunteer and for so many of us a loyal and genuine friend.”