When Phillip’s brother Neville called him a few years ago to tell him their mother was in hospital and didn’t have long to go, the siblings didn’t anticipate their mum would live and this year celebrate a century of life.
Born on June 30, 1922, Joan Pascoe survived two world wars, the great depression, mass natural disasters and, more recently, a pandemic.
“She’s always been a fighter, you’d have to say she was a strong woman,” Neville said.
“Not long ago she fell out of her chair and got stitches in her head [and] a couple of years back before COVID, she got a bug, a viral bug and then two days later, she was back here and you would never know there was anything wrong with her.”
Phillip believes his mother’s “one great love“ was ballet, and in her prime years, when Joan was a ballerina, she danced for the Queen during a royal visit to Australia.
“She never drank, she never smoked, she never swore. I didn’t inherit that one,” he said.
Phillip, who flew down from Townsville to celebrate his mum at the Glendale Aged Care in Werribee where she lives, said Joan instilled in him the importance of hard work, and love.
“You’d do everything for your kids, like they might give you the shits at times…but family is important,” he said.
The family gifted Joan warm cardigans, a sponge cake, and a birthday letter from the Queen.