Merrell Wolfe’s Eulogy
Baptist Church, Parkes. 11.00 am. 6th July 2006.
We are gathered here today to celebrate the life of Merrell Wolfe. To a large number of people, she was a daughter,
a mother, wife, sister, aunty, close friend and an elder of the Wiradjuri tribe.
Merrell was born in Griffith in 1945, the second child of Ned and Joyce (always referred to as Daddy and Mummy)
Hutchings. She had an older brother, Jonny (who cannot be here today) and a younger sister, Maureen. Very soon after she had
an extended family of brothers and sisters (Paddy, Kevin, Darrell, Lynette and Kerry). Her family was the first to live on
the Murri at Condobolin. Whilst Daddy worked on the railway, Mummy and the kids travelled throughout the area doing seasonal
work. During this time, Mummy instilled the values of family ties, survival in hardships and for the family to stick together.
At the age of 15, she attended Mindamar Bible College at Singleton
for several years; here she met her husband, Albert Wolfe. They had 4 children, Jasmine, Allison, Karen and Daniel. They moved
to Cowra and Merrell worked at the Erambie Preschool, ran by Save the Children Fund, as a bus driver and teacher. She loved
to help young aboriginal children. After divorcing in 1978, she left work and solely took care and devoted her life to her
The next major part of life was when grandchildren arrived, Natasha
and Elisha, who Jasmine was the mother, Karen married and Daniel Paul was born. In 1986, her father passed away, whom she
loved very much. More grandchildren arrived; Daniel had a daughter, Kattie. Karen gave birth to Tron and Shellema and Allison
had 4 children, Luke, Aaron, Taresha and Tayla.
Merrell moved to Parkes in 1992 and rejuvenated the organisations
of ASSPA and AECG, and was President for 5 years. This gave her the opportunity to help young aboriginal children by giving
them a better chance in life. With the help of Daniel, her son, school workshops were set up, an Aboriginal representation
was incorporated in School Councils and she was an Aboriginal liaison with the Police department, and many times did she get
out of bed to carry out this responsibility without complaint. She achieved the construction and flying of the Aboriginal
flag at Parkes Public School and Parkes High School.
Tragedy struck in 1998 when Daniel suddenly passed away, ripping
a huge hole in her life of which she never fully recovered, at this time her whole family gathered around her, supporting
and loving her and it took several years before finding solace from that tragedy.
The disease, emphysema, started to affect her life and lifestyle
and she had to reluctantly let go of ASSPA and AECG. For the last 5 years she was on concentrated oxygen 24 / 7 until last
Friday when the disease finally took her life. There was only one thing that she didn’t complete in her life, the realisation
of her book, titled “Walking in my own footprint”, but we all have a copy of her life in our hearts.
Merrell was a mighty woman, proud of her Aboriginal heritage,
being a Wiradjuri descendant, her children, grandchildren and her mother, devoting her whole life to those roles. One of her
friend’s has set up and dedicated a web site in her memory. Merrell’s passing has affected all who have come in
contact with her, some people more than others, but we will all be saddened for her not being here with us, but we will be
richer for the experience and sharing her “iron will power”, the level of devotion, the kind words of support
she gave us all. She has left a massive void in our lives, but I believe that her level of devotion and dedication to control
her own life has to be an inspiration to us all. I know her spirit has met up with Daniel and I would not be a bit surprised
that she has gathered and leads the spirits of members of her family that have passed on before, that a flock of sulphur crested
white cockatoos make their presence known, visiting all of us.
May you rest in peace now, Sister Merrell and we will always love
you for who you were.
Until we meet again in the spirit world,
Love always Neville