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White, Frances Mary (Mary) (1882–1948)

Archdeacon Stammer's Tribute to Late Miss Mary White
Memorial Service at St. Peter's Cathedral

"She will be missed by countless people who to-day thank God for her life and character, her work and heir influence, her sympathy and her boundless charity."

This tribute to the late Miss Mary White was paid by Archdeacon E. H. Stammer in an address read at a memorial service in St. Peter's Cathedral on Friday afternoon.

All available seating, as well as temporary seating, in the Cathedral was occupied, and many people stood in the doorway for the duration of the service. Large sections of the cathedral were reserved for representatives of numerous organisations desirous of paying tribute to the late Miss White.

The service was conducted by the Rev. E. H. Arblaster, who read an address prepared by Archdeacon Stammer, who is ill in hospital. Other clergy present were Canon C. Dickens representing Bishop Moves and the Council of the Diocese; the Revs. R. A. Harris, M. L. Cooke, J. O. Rymer, E. T. Ormerod (Uralla).

Organisations represented at the service included: Country Women's Association, the Group President (Mrs. E. M. Walton), officially representing the State president (Mrs. G. P. Brookes); Returned Servicemens League; Girl Guides; Baby Health Centre; Red Cross; Armidale and New England Hospital staff and hospital board; St. Peter's Cathedral Council; T.A.S; N.E.G.S.; Golf Associates; A.T.C.; Demonstration School; High School; University College Advisory Council, staff and students; Municipal Council; Shire Council; W.C.T.I.; Salvation Army; Coventry Home; Relief Society; Horticultural Societv; St. Peter's Cathedral Altar Guild; Australian Board of Missions Women's Auxiliary; Graziers' Association; Council of Scientific and Industrial Research; Armidale and District Ambulance; business houses of Armidale.

The Archdeacon's address read: —

"I wish I could he with you m person to deliver my message this afternoon. As that is impossible, may I say that it is the privilege of nearly 50 years association with the White family and their close relationship with the Church of God and of this diocese, which makes me dare to claim the sad responsibility of putting forth my few words of admiration and frank acknowledgment of the life of Frances Mary Fletcher White.

"Because I knew him so well, may I first say that the quality of the father fell in a very full measure, like a blessed mantle, over the daughter. It was the mantle of charity, in all that charity means, as we read of it in the thirteenth chapter of the first epistle of Corinthians.

"It was so I found the father. Frank White. Year after year he moved in and out amongst the hospital wards and beds as a weekly offering to suffering and care and sorrow. His generosity did so much to build up the fabric. He took no account of weather if duty or service for others called him.

"He was one of the best types of our pioneers. As a churchman, we recognised him for his worth. He was made a member of the Diocesan Council about the same time as myself; that is 41 years ago. For years we sat together and one could always be sure of his sound judgment. It was here, too that I found he never lost the common human touch.

"I say these things now, not mere in praise of famous men and our fathers who begat us. but because I believe that Mary White was proud of her begetting and strove in her own deliberate way to model herself upon those who had trodden life's way before her. As she was a product of that fine home at Saumerez, with its generous atmosphere, so she bore the fruit of its character and its life.

"She was one of the earliest pupils of the New England Girls' School, and partook of the spirit of its founders. As she grew in years, she grew into feeling for the distresses and aches of the world and became more and more very susceptible to the wants of the needy. So did she gather up her character and make of it, within herself, a very strong and vivid personality. She became like Dorcas—"a woman full of good works and alms deeds that She did," but they had to be done quite quietly, almost by stealth.

"Last year she represented New South Wales at the International Women's Conference held at Amster dam. She visited many places, and I believe it was her tremendous desire to see things as they were on the other side which made her take the venture. Both in England and on the Continent, especially in the 'latter place, she saw much that touched her womanly heart. She saw much of sorrow, much of tragedy. She heard the cry of hunger which seemed to he almost universal, and this became a burden she never, ceased to carry. It was such an unforgettable experience, it was just like her to want to know the whole, and do what she could.

Those of you who heard her give her talks of her travels when she returned, can readily recall the strong personal emotion which her experience brought forth in her.

"It was the same pitiful heart which had shown itself here in Armidale in so many departments of our life. A heart, of sympathy. She was really feeling at one with those whom she described.

"Mary White will be greatly missed by countless people who to-day thank God for her life and her character, her work and her influence, her sympathy and her boundless charity.

"'Charity suffereth long and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up. Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth. Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things.'

"Those words set the standard of Christian character of every age. I believe them to he the hallmark of Mary White."

Original publication

Citation details

'White, Frances Mary (Mary) (1882–1948)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/white-frances-mary-mary-22485/text32183, accessed 25 November 2017.

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