Jan Lawrence, a life member of the Howick RSA and Howick Tennis Club, has been farewelled in a service “to celebrate her special life”.
Lawrence died suddenly on November 14 surrounded by family. She was 83.
Jan was born in Yacka, South Australia, and lived on a stud ram breeding farm with her brother Rod. They lost both their parents John and Audrey in their teens.
She went to boarding school and when she left she took up nursing.
In 1957 she travelled to NZ for a holiday on the ship Wanganella. She landed in Wellington, and then took the train to Taumarunui to spend some time with her Aunty Jill.
In the eulogy, the family said, “Jill was more like a sister to Mum. Jill had escaped from Aussie a couple of years earlier and had fallen for a New Zealander who she married, John Darrow. John had a mate called Peter and it was through this connection Mum met Peter.
“Mum was to suffer a similar fate as her Aunty Jill and was swept off her feet by this handsome young banker. She never went back home to Aussie, and they got married in Wanganui in April 1958.”
Peter worked for the BNZ in Kimbolton and was then transferred through the BNZ to New Plymouth.
Jan and Peter were keen tennis players and played in the top team for the Huatoki Tennis Club, which remains one of the top clubs in New Plymouth.
“In those days Interclub was an all-day affair playing singles, doubles and mixed doubles. The whole family would be packed in the car, along with a picnic lunch for the day. Us kids spent a lot of time hitting against a volley board.
“Mum also put time back into the club helping with junior coaching every Saturday morning. It was Mum’s influence that got all of us children into tennis.”
In 1970 Peter transferred to the BNZ in Howick. They spent the first six weeks living in a motel on Eastern Beach while the couple looked for a house. They eventually found one in Hutchinson Road, which became the family home for many years.
The family joined the Howick Tennis Club, where, again, Jan looked after the juniors and played competitively. She served on the committee for many years, and also the Auckland Lawn Tennis Association and also managed Auckland Junior teams. She received a Life Membership of the Howick Tennis Club.
The couple also played Squash at the Panmure and Howick Squash Clubs. They were also active in the Round Table.
Jan also set up her own hair salon Style Hairdressers and ran a successful business for many years. She then opened up ‘Cut n Style’, a second salon in Howick.
Their first Grandchild came in 1994 and another six arrived over the following 13 years.
“Mum loved spending time with her family as it was everything to her. She would always make time for them and also her children’s friends. She loved looking after the grandchildren when she wasn’t working. She loved teaching them to bake and making goo.”
Jan used to drop Peter off regularly to the RSA but eventually joined and did volunteer work for them. She was on the executive committee, Women’s Division committee but, importantly, for many years looked after all the administration of the annual poppies sales.
She received a life membership from the RSA and also received a Community Service Award.
Her death notice read, “Dearly loved wife of Peter, Mum and mother-in-law to John and Kerry, Sue, Paul and Megan, Penny and Doug. Nana to Josh, Jaimee, Jackson, Dean, Samantha, Renee and Katie.”
The tennis club also paid tribute – “Valued and greatly esteemed Life Member of the Howick Tennis Club. Thank you for all the years of support and contribution to the club.”