Family recalls Judith’s grace and charm

Born to Harry and Gladys Sara, Judith grew up on Kalkaroo station, near Wilcannia, NSW, and was the middle daughter between sisters Genette and Ronda.

Judith’s early schooling was by correspondence, then locally in Wilcannia before boarding at her beloved Woodlands Church of England Girls School in Glenelg.

She studied homecraft then attended business college. Her handwriting, record keeping and accounts work on the family farm were always immaculate.

Kalkaroo was too far to return home for all exeats and holidays so often the sisters would stay with relatives at Korunye, Uncle Pete and Aunty Linda.

Judith’s father Harry Sara and Uncle Pete were close friends after serving in the 9th Light Horse in Palestine in WW1.

Pete’s brother lived a mile away with his family, including wife Irene, son David and sisters Pat and Margaret.

David was smitten from very early on.

Margaret was taken to many local functions purely so David could learn to dance in order to impress Judith.

He plucked up the courage to ask Judith to the Suffolk Breeders Annual Dinner Dance for their first date.

They married in Malvern Methodist Church on September 19, 1959 and honeymooned on Lord Howe Island. Paddy’s Bridge station became their home and a wonderful place to raise a family.

Judith excelled in all things artistic whether they be drawing, painting, pottery, calligraphy and lettering, as well as sewing, cake decorating, cooking etc.

She was in the CWA, Lions, Probus and on the Mallala Hospital Auxiliary and Board, various pony society, museum and school committees.

Along with her daily diary she was a keen photographer, coin and stamp collector.

Judith did all the sheep dog training on the farm as she possessed the required patience to do so.

In the early 1970’s Judith bought ‘Merrylegs’ from Angus’s in Mallala; a cheeky black Shetland pony.

From this small start came three prize-winning pony studs producing purebred Shetland, Welsh and Australian ponies, under the ‘Akeringa’ brand.

If she wasn’t keen on a buyer though, the pony in question often became unavailable.

Many years were spent touring the pony show circuit, with David enthusiastically assisting and enjoying time off from the never-ending farm work and gaining great satisfaction, especially when her ponies took out prize ribbons.

The grandchildren spent many school holidays and sleepovers helping Grandma with the ponies, excited when new foals arrived and loving any opportunity for riding lessons.

Judith became infamous in recent years for her merciless thrashing of anyone and everyone at Chinese Checkers.

It is a deceptively difficult game and if you missed an obvious move or did what she thought was a bad one she let you know in no uncertain terms.

Many a visitor or new carer would sit down and before they knew it, get annihilated.

Judith was an invaluable companion and confidante and her partnership with David was strong both socially and in business, including the farm, seed cleaning plant and working with pea and grain exporters.

They instilled in their children the value of hard work and independence, faith in doing the right thing and love. Unflappable, pragmatic, stoic – all words used to describe Judith.

She was imminently sensible and calmly managed children, animals and farm happenings without fuss.

She lived a rewarding and eventful life, filled with family, community, art, travel and home and will be greatly missed.

The Verner family wish to sincerely thank Colin for his continuous support and friendship to the family, the Lyell McEwin Hospital, Dr Salagaras, Kincare carers, and Judith’s allied health professionals for their attention and care over the years.

Judith is survived by her four children, Irene, Wendy, Andrew and Richard, and 11 grandchildren.

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