Ethel Rae McInnes, 1932-2016

She was working quietly in her beloved garden, one sunny Canberra afternoon, when Ethel felt a little tired and decided to take a nap. She died peacefully and was found at rest later that afternoon.

Ethel Cootes was born on 19 February 1932 in Bombala and died at her home in Canberra on 24 March 2016. She was the wife of Mervyn who died before her. Ethel had cared for him for a long time after had a stroke. Ethel loved family—her children Gregory, Colin and Lynne, grandsons Sebastian and Zachary, sister Janice, brothers Albert and Ted (dec), brother-in-law of Barry and sister-in-law Pamela.

Ethel's career was as a primary teacher. She was a masterly innovator and curriculum designer and powerfully dedicated to the wellbeing of her pupils. At St Philip's, Ethel imersed herself in a great array of practical help and ministry, with joy and loving care.

Ethel's daughter Lynne gave the eulogy of at Ethel's funeral on 1 April 2016. You can read it here.

Words that Ethel might have said

Relatives and friends, I am about to leave;
my last breath does not say "goodbye,"
for my love for you is truly timeless,
beyond the touch of death.

I leave myself not to the undertaker,
for decoration in his house of the dead,
but to your memory with love.

I leave my thoughts, my laughter, my dreams
to you whom I have treasured
beyond gold and precious gems.

I give you what no thief can steal,
the memories of our times together:
the tender, love-filled moments,
the successes we have shared,
the hard times that brought us closer together
and the roads we have walked side by side.

And all I take with me as I leave
is your love and the millions of memories
of all that we have shared.
So I truly enter my new life
as a millionaire.

Fear not nor grieve at my departure,
you whom I have loved so much,
for my roots and yours
are forever intertwined.

Adapted from Prayers for a Planetary Pilgrim,
by Edward Hays, 1989; read at Ethel’s funeral by Revd Jeannette McHugh.


Ethel has picked her last bouquet,
bottled her last harvest and
baked her last cake.
She has gone, peacefully
and content, to her rest.
—family tribute

St Philip's Anglican Church,
cnr Moorhouse and Macpherson Streets, O'Connor, ACT 2602.