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Rosemary Snodgrass: Eulogy

By Lee Lin Boon, 15th March 2018


I met Rosemary 43 years ago. We started at St George Hospital School of Nursing as clinical tutors. Somehow we ended up sharing an office. This was the beginning of a close friendship which extended beyond our professional lives, getting to know each other's family, friends and sharing many happy times – Christmases, birthdays, travelling, attending shows, concerts and our annual trip to the dog shows. Forever positive that she will get better, we were still planning more things to do. I will miss these times together.


I watched Rosemary recover from her illness after her stint as a Bush nurse in Oonadetta and watched her rise in the Nursing hierarchy. We used to call her “matron”, a term she disliked. I watched how effective she was in managing conflict as her voice would get softer when the tensions and voices rose around her.


A highlight in her career was when she was offered a scholarship whilst at Royal North Shore Hospital by Johnson and Johnson and attended the prestigious Wharton Business school at the University of Pennsylvania .


Rosemary was a person of compassion, fairness integrity and generosity. She believed in empowering people. Her philosophy throughout her career was this... “if you cared and look after your staff and nurses, you will get better outcomes and better patient care.” She believed it, practiced it and its no wonder her staff loved her, and was inspired by her.


She was a change agent and one of her staff was telling me how she started work as an RN the same day that Rosemary became the Director of Nursing at St George Hospital. That day all the Registered Nurses wore veils and the next day, the veils were gone.


Rosemary conducted herself with humility and this can be seen as she served in this church welcoming people and serving at the communion table until her sickness. She was really tickled when people commented at the door that she was a great welcomer. Despite all the prestigious positions she held, she remained humble and always approachable.


The hallmark of her life was shown in the service of others- to her staff, to her family and to others around her. People were her priority. It was completely frustrating for some of us around her, as she would rather spend time with people, chatting and everything else would be left undone. Certainly not a Martha.


We had a “Flolan” party each week (a private joke) as a group of us Joan Tooke, her neice, Maria Girardi and Jeanette Ward from this church assisted weekly in enabling Rosemary to be at home in her last 4 months as we loaded weekly supplies of her medications for her Hickman's catheter. She was fiercely independent and determined to remain at home.


She found great comfort in knowing many people were praying for her as she faced health struggles over the past year or so. Particularly grateful to her childhood friend, Glenys Porter and Pastor David Williams visiting and praying with her.


Rosemary had two very capable deputies at RNS hospital and they have kindly penned tributes to her. My sister and I will now read them.