Strong, courageous and loving with a very bubbly personality.
These are just some of the words that Erin Austin uses to describe her late mother Kerry Lorraine Austin who tragically died in a motorbike accident during a heavy storm on the Pacific Highway at Thrumster at 2pm Saturday, November 4.
The 65-year-old Adelaide born woman touched the lives of many in her 36 years in Port Macquarie, whether it be through helping student doctors, nurturing netball talent or harvesting oysters.
"She just faced everything head on," Ms Austin said of her Mum.
"It didn't matter if she was helping the community or in business, she just faced everything head on and nothing was ever a problem."
"If she could do it, she'd put her hand up and she'd just get on with it."
Born December 13, 1957, Kerry grew up and met her husband of 45 years Rodnie in South Australia before making the move to Newcastle.
The pair later moved to Port Macquarie with their two daughters, Dale and Erin, in 1987.
Kerry was one of the founding members of a Westpac Rescue Helicopter Hastings Support Group, which set up floats to run in the annual Easter parade.
"I have fond memories of dressing up Dad's work truck with helicopters, streamers and balloons," Ms Austin said.
"We [children of the group members] were acting being rescued by the helicopter that was part of the float.
"We had some weird wonderful ideas."
Being together as a family came naturally to the Austins, who were always there to support Kerry.
"We did lots of things as a family," Erin said. "If Mum was doing something, we were there.
"Dale and I spent so many Saturdays sitting and waiting for Mum to finish with netball."
Netball was a lifelong dedication for Kerry who started playing the sport as a young girl in Adelaide.
When arriving in Port Macquarie, she and her daughters joined the Saints Netball Club. Kerry became president of the club for a number of years.
She went on to be the Hastings Valley Netball Association President from 2004 to 2010.
For a while, she worked as the association's communications officer, supplying articles to the Port News. She was granted life membership of the association in 2013.
In a statement to the Port News, the Hasting Valley Netball Association said she would be fondly remembered as a beautiful friend to many.
"With an infectious laugh, and a radiant smile, Kerry was such an inspiring woman, encouraging us all to be our best, whether we were eight, and playing our first game of netball, or 48 and taking on our first committee position," the Association said.
"She was very inclusive and supportive to us all.
"She was always smiling, very much admired, and will be greatly missed."
Erin recalls Kerry travelling to watch local players at the State Age Championships in Sydney, despite not playing in the competition herself. She was also on the board for Netball NSW.
"She just loved netball, so she got right in there," she said.
On top of her fundraising efforts and dedication to netball, Kerry was also a drummer in the Port Macquarie Wauchope RSL Pipes and Drums (Hastings District Highland Pipes Band), the Manning Valley Pipes and Drums, as well as a member of the NSW Highlander Pipe Band.
The Port Macquarie Wauchope RSL Pipes and Drums remembers Kerry as the most energetic, positive and welcoming person.
"Her laughter was contagious and her kindness never ending."
It wasn't uncommon to see Kerry helping her husband who worked as a local oyster farmer, bricklayer and owner of C & C Stonecraft.
At all three businesses, Kerry was there helping either with bookkeeping, looking after oysters or manning the front desk.
She continued to help her husband when he purchased another oyster lease just over 10 years ago.
"Mum would ring me every Monday and Tuesday at 6.30am on her way to the oyster lease," Ms Austin said.
Kerry did this all while working in the Mid North Coast Local Health District (MNCLHD).
An employee for 19 years, she first started at the MNCLHD library helping doctors find articles and source materials.
She later worked in administration and, approximately 15 years ago, started working on the ward while still working once a week in the library.
In between all of these activities she still found time for her family; visiting her granddaughter in Muswellbrook for Grandparents Day just five days before her tragic death.
As a long time motorbike lover, Kerry had gone on a ride that morning with her women-only motorbike riding group, The Go Riders.
She died later that afternoon while riding home.
"It's hard to put it all into words," Erin said about the accident.
"There's not a lot that I can say about that because we're absolutely devastated,
"It's just a tragic accident."
Kerry is survived by her husband Rodnie, her mother Roma, brother Wayne, her daughters Erin and Dale, and seven grandchildren.
A celebration of her life will be held at Innes Gardens Memorial Park Chapel, Phillip Charley Drive Port Macquarie at 2.30pm on Friday, November 17.
Her family ask that in lieu of flowers, a donation to Guide Dogs Australia or Motor Neurone Disease would be appreciated.
The two charities were chosen due to the family's love of dogs and Kerry's father who passed due to a motor neurone disease.
It's no surprise that Kerry continues to give to the community even in death.
"She's made such a big impact and didn't do things by halves," Ms Austin said.
"She lived life to the fullest.
"She's very much an inspiration."
IN OTHER NEWS:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.