Jan Meng receives her life membership from president Ashley Hams in 2001.
Jan Meng receives her life membership from president Ashley Hams in 2001. Contributed

A love of table tennis and the church

JAN Meng lived a kind and loving life that was always full of joy.

Her daughter Leona Pearce paid this tribute to her mother at her funeral service at Iona West Uniting Church. Jan died at home in the arms of her beloved husband Ron, at 6.55am on Tuesday July 19, after a long illness.

"Mum once told me that JOY was short for Jesus, others and yourself -  with Jesus first, others second and yourself last," Leona said.

"This sums up perfectly how Mum lived her life.  She always put others before herself, was always there for us, always selflessly caring for us and always willing to listen."

Jan and her husband Ron, known universally as Mengie, had three children - son Gregg and daughters Karen and Leona.

Born on May 16, 1942 at Baralaba, 150km west of Gladstone, Jan lived her early life at Rockhampton but met Ron by chance at a boarding house at Brisbane during a holiday.

Leona said Jan sat at a table which she thought was empty for breakfast, which Ron had temporarily vacated to answer a phone call.

"When Dad returned, he was pleasantly surprised to find Mum sitting at his table," Leona said.

"Mum was going ten pin bowling with Grandma that afternoon and decided to invite Dad along.

"After Mum and Dad got married, Mum moved to Mackay to start her new life as a wife and a mother to Gregg, Karen and I.

The funeral service for Jan Meng was held at the Iona West Uniting Church in West Mackay.
The funeral service for Jan Meng was held at the Iona West Uniting Church in West Mackay. Contributed

"It must have been challenging bringing up three kids while Dad worked really hard with his engineering business, but she was never one to complain through any of that.  Dad retired just before his 40th birthday which gave them 37 years of retired life to enjoy together."

Mengie's "retirement" has included plenty of fishing in his tinnie, The Office, but also an active life developing farming inventions which the couple took to field days around the country.

Leona said two constants in her mother's life were her love of table tennis and her church.

"She was actively involved in organizing Tuesday morning table tennis for many, many years and was recognised for all her hard work by being named a life member of the Mackay Table Tennis Association a decade ago."

Jan's love of table tennis passed to her daughters who both took up the game, with Leona becoming one of Mackay's best juniors of her time and winning state and national titles.

"Mum was a long time parishioner at Iona West Uniting Church attending weekly church services, presenting children's addresses, teaching Sunday School, volunteering at the church's Lifeline store and hosting weekly bible study groups, which I had the privilege to attend when I was home in October," Leona said.

"Mum had such a traveling sense of adventure and every year she travelled with me to places such as Italy, Belgium, India, England, Ireland and America.

"She loved visiting new cities and was thrilled to finally tick off her wish list the Passion Play performed in Germany every 10 years, where Mum and I celebrated her 68th birthday."

Her love of travel passed to Leona, an accountant who lives in San Francisco and has two young boys.

Jan's funeral service was conducted by retired priest Bernie Jarius who was the minister at  Iona West Uniting Church for a number of years in the early 80s. Her coffin was in green; her favourite colour.

Her brother Keith Ireland, who publishes a wildlife calendar each year as a Rotary fundraiser, took photos at the funeral as a tribute to his sister.

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