Vale Jeanette Furmedge

Jeanette Furmedge was known for her work in the community. PICTURES: SUPPLIED

Silvan resident and community member Jeanette Furmedge has been recognised as “determined” and having a “full life” after her passing on Wednesday 14 February.

Cub leader and past president of social enterprise Knoxbrooke, Jeanette or ‘Jetti,’ was honoured in a service at her beloved home on Friday 23 February.

In a statement published on the Knoxbrooke website, board and staff, past and present said the organisation was “privileged to have had the support of Jeanette for well over 40 years”.

“Jeanette first encountered Knoxbrooke when she enrolled her daughter, Kathryn at age 2, into what was then the only local special school in the area,” the statement read.

“Not one to stand on the side lines, Jeanette quickly became involved with Knoxbrooke in many ways over the years including as volunteer, staff member, manager, Director and even President of Knoxbrooke (1989-1990).”

During her association with Knoxbrooke, Jeanette oversaw the mothers club, the making of the worm farm called ‘Wrigglers Delight,’ the pot washing business, the cleaning business, the creation of Knoxbrooke Industries and the start of the Adult Training and Support Service, the statement said.

“Jeanette was also instrumental in sorting and compiling Knoxbrooke’s history for the 50th anniversary book, which was a huge project!

“The creation of what is today Yarra View & Bushland Flora Nurseries was also overseen by Jeanette and humbly started its life on unused land on Burwood Highway, growing fuchsias for the farmers market on weekends.

“Jeannette was a part of moving the nursery to The Patch and then ultimately to York Road. The purchase of Bushland Flora had the support of Jeanette as Director.”

Jeanette’s granddaughter, Jordyn, spoke on behalf of her brother Riley and cousins Tiger and Cash.

Jordyn said her Nana was a “classic arts and crafts” grandmother.

“She always encouraged creativity,” Jordyn said.

“She was always singing, always chuckling, and we were constantly in the kitchen cooking something yummy.

“There was never a dull moment…I remember my favourite thing to do was to walk with Nana and Grumpy through the magical fairy garden out the front, searching for cool creatures and avoiding the make believe trolls under the bridge, not to mention the hours and hours and hours and hours of bouncing and giggling on the trampoline over there.”

Jordyn said her grandmother was “kind, compassionate and full of love”.

“I feel so blessed to have grown up with such a strong extraordinary woman by our side – I look up to my Nana in so many ways as I start navigating my own journey through my 20s,” she siad.

“She embraced life fully doing all the things she really really loved in life….and she continued to pursue her passions which has inspired me to do the same.

“She was always a leader and will continue to be one in my heart.”

In the statement from Knoxbrooke’s board and staff said Jeanette was “always a proponent of progress” and supported new initiatives when they brought about positive change for people with a disability.

“Jeanette was a mainstay Board member from 1986 until 2021 when she retired from the Board.

“It is safe to say there is not much at Knoxbrooke that does not have Jeanette’s DNA on it. Throughout all this time, Jeanette was always generous, warm and positive, guiding and assisting others to do their best, in whatever endeavour they may be pursuing. What distinguished Jeanette was her willingness to take action where it mattered and be brave in doing so.

“Knoxbrooke would not be what it is today without Jeanette which is why we admire her so. It is due to Jeanette’s long association with Knoxbrooke and a desire to recognise Jeanette that the Board created the perpetual Jeanette Furmedge Community Award in 2022. We are pleased that Jeanette’s contribution to Knoxbrooke will continue to be honoured through this Award.”

Born on 4 November 1940 in South Australia, Jeanette grew up in the Camberwell/Canterbury raised by adoptive parents Keith and Grace.

It was not until her 40s that Jeanette discovered she was adopted – and discovered a new family of four sisters and a brother and an extended family of nephews and nieces.

After meeting husband Peter at a party, the pair married on 2 April 1966 and would go on to have children Scotty, Cameron, Kathryn and Anita.

After meeting Peter, Jeanette went to London for work and travel, and despite the potential of staying to study at the Royal College of Music in London, she turned down a scholarship to return home and marry her love.

Jeanette was involved in Cubs and Scouts for 50 years, and was Akela for Monbulk Cub Pack for over 30 years.

She went back to study sports massage and healing at the age of 50; starting her own massage business from home.

She was also involved in choir, known for her voice.

Jeanette is survived by husband Peter, children Cameron, Kathryn and Anita and grandchildren Jordyn, Riley, Tiger and Cash.