A loving wife and mother and dedicated community volunteer, Eileen May Johns was born on 3 December 1933 and passed away on 8 August 2023, aged 89 years.
Eileen was born in Brisbane and grew up in Moorooka, attending St Brendan’s School until she was 14 years of age.
When she left school, she worked at the TC Beirne Department Store in Fortitude Valley as a cashier.
In 1962 she met Beaudesert man, Phil Johns, on a blind date and her life changed forever.
When she first saw him she thought it couldn’t possibly be him because he looked too nice.
Many years later, Eileen was quoted as saying, “My greatest thing in life was meeting Phillip Albert Johns”.
The couple married in 1963 and made Beaudesert their home.
Although she moved to Beaudesert because it was Phil’s home, she came to love the town dearly and became part of the fabric of the township not only because of their family connections, but also through her volunteer work.
Eileen began working at the Railway Hotel shortly after moving to Beaudesert.
She continued working there until she became pregnant with their first child, Michael, who was born in 1965.
The couple went on to have seven children: twins Paul and Phillip who were born in 1967; Anne Marie in 1968; Rosemary in 1969; Brian in 1971 and Anthony in 1973.
Although having seven children was very busy, Eileen loved being a mother and has said she would have loved to have had more children.
With seven children to care for, she fitted in work where she could.
She worked as a cleaner for several local businesses including 26 years working at the baby clinic in Beaudesert.
She and Phil always put their children first.
Phil worked long days at the meatworks and undertook extra work on local farms.
Eileen didn’t drive and her son Michael remembers walking through town, with locals counting the children as they walked past!
Eileen also undertook a lot of volunteer work in the community.
She was a founding member of the Catholic Daughter’s Association in 1963, now known as the Catholic Women’s League.
This led to hours of volunteer work at Beaudesert Hospital and Meals on Wheels.
She was one of the first people to volunteer at the St Vincent de Paul Op Shop when it opened and became increasingly involved over the years.
She ended up volunteering there for over 40 years, where she enjoyed working with the other volunteers and chatting to their customers.
She made many good friends through her voluntary work and in 2008 she was recognised in the Queensland Premier’s Awards.
She was the Queensland Senior Award winner in recognition of her outstanding voluntary service to the Beaudesert community and to Queensland.
In 2019, Eileen was among several Centacare clients to have compiled an album of stories detailing major events in their lives, which included a photo at her debut.
Eileen was remembered at a Requiem Mass at St Mary’s Church, Beaudesert on Thursday 17 August 2023.
She will be remembered by her husband Phil, children, 12 grandchildren and five great-grandchilden.