Lizzie lived life to the full

ELIZABETH Claire “Lizzie” Crothers was a kind, caring and compassionate young woman who never let health issues as an infant prevent her enjoying life in the country and city.

The daughter of Bill and Claire Crothers, Lizzie spent much of her holiday time in the Warwick area at the home of her grandmother Mary Ryan and extended family.

She was christened by great uncle Father Frank Leonard at the Ryan family home at “Woodford”, Greymare, in 1990, and was often at Mass at Our Lady of Dolours Catholic Church, Greymare, and St Mary's Church in Warwick.

With her father originally from Stanthorpe and then Dirranbandi and her mother from the Greymare district, west of Warwick, the Crothers family now live in Brisbane but love the chance to get away from the capital city for some fresh country air and to see family and friends on a regular basis.

She enjoyed bushwalking with her three sisters on the Southern Downs and also looked forward to the annual pilgrimage to the Karara Karnival when it was held in October each year.

One Saturday each October was another chance to catch up with her many cousins on the Darling Downs and across south-east Queensland.

Lizzie spent the first two years of her life at Blackall during which time her mother often flew with her to Brisbane as doctors monitored a heart defect.

Her father remained at home in Blackall caring for her two older siblings.

The hole in her heart was closed surgically at Prince Charles Hospital when she was two and she remained in good health until a cardiac arrest took her life early this year.

She attended school at St Pius X at Salisbury and when the family moved to Coorparoo she was enrolled at St Thomas School at Camp Hill.

With her best friend Danielle Di Carlo, she went to taekwondo where she achieved a black tipped brown belt.

She often came up against much larger opponents in competitions and broke a 2cm (¾ inch) pine board to get her black tip.

Lizzie never went back after breaking the board with a round house back kick. Breaking the board was what she wanted to achieve.

Five years of secondary education followed at Lourdes Hill College at Hawthorne from 2004 to 2008.

She received the Kevin Rudd Award for German in year 10, an award presented by the local Federal Member of Parliament.

Lizzie played tennis right through school and was in a winning team in year 12.

She didn't have a big serve but would always get it in and then she would sit on the baseline and always get the ball back. No hard hitting, just consistent play.

It was at Lourdes Hill when her social conscience started to emerge and she was president of the school chapter of Amnesty International.

She may have been small in stature but was no push over on social justice issues and well liked and respected at school.

In 2009, she started a Bachelor of Nursing degree at the University of Queensland and did her practical training at the Mater Hospital.

She was going into her third and final year of nursing when illness struck.

For the two years after she left school, Lizzie worked part-time as a pharmacy assistant at Terry White Coorparoo. She occasionally worked the same shift as her mother.

Music was her great love and she was taught the guitar, often sitting in her room to strum for hours.

You could hear her soft voice singing in her room but never in public.

She liked modern folk music but also some of the old classics.

Literature was a passion with Lizzie. She read all the Harry Potter books.

Her sister Caroline gave her the complete list of Shakespearian Plays which she read as well as the classics, Emily Bronte and Charles Dickens.

Lizzie wasn't one to complain, she was kind, caring, compassionate and determined and more worried about her family, friends and fellow man than herself.

After leaving school, she continued her great interest in social justice issues.

To quote a past principal of Lourdes Hill, “Lizzie had no time for the seeming giddiness of the social world, instead in her senior year, she used her creative efforts to ensure the college Amnesty group was doing its job and engaging as many girls as possible.

“She didn't treasure the things of this world but the need for justice and fairness,” the past principal said.

Another Lourdes Hill teacher described Lizzie as a young woman who was funny and very brave, gentle yet strong, gifted particularly in her studies of literature and music, mature beyond her years, extremely compassionate about her nursing studies and very passionate about human rights and social justice.

She was involved in the St Mary's Catholic Community in South Brisbane.

Her cousin Fr Richard Leonard travelled from Melbourne to celebrate her Funeral Mass in front of an overflowing church congregation.

Lizzie's dignified funeral with the raw emotions of love in loss was a moving tribute to this fine young woman.

The large number of young people who attended her funeral was indicative of how this quiet, unassuming young woman touched lives from her earliest days at school to her university years.

Lizzie's great ambition was to travel to England where she would have loved the climate and drizzling weather. She loved to laugh and had a real sense of the ridiculous.

Her love of life could best be described by the unfinished jigsaw she was working on when she took ill, a scarf she was still knitting, a book half finished on her bed. Her life was one of huge potential with ambitions burning brightly.

What she fitted in 20 years will forever be remembered by her parents Bill and Claire Crothers, sisters Caroline, Anna and Sarah, family and friends from Brisbane to Warwick, Greymare, Dirranbandi, Blackall and many places in between.

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