Community farewells Sue Cowley
SADNESS will be in the air in Allora today as the community prepares to say goodbye to Sue Cowley after she lost her battle with cancer last Friday afternoon.
The former Warwick and Allora Shire Councillor was a great pioneer and teacher, and many people have expressed tributes to Sue with “passionate” being the word used frequently to describe her character and work ethic.
Sue has been described as a caring wife, mother and grandmother to her husband Ted, two children Michael and Timothy and grandchildren Harrison and Olivia.
Sue was born in Kyogle, New South Wales on November 2, 1942 and moved to Allora in 1966 where she began work at the Allora Hospital.
She planned to save money to go on a trip to Canada although before she had the chance to travel she met Ted Cowley, married him the next year and began her life in Allora.
Prior to her career as a councillor, Sue worked for many years as a receptionist and nurse with the Allora Hospital and in this time forged many relationships and became involved in the community.
Sue began her council career when she was elected for the Allora Shire Council in 1983, were she served until amalgamation in 1994 and then continued on the Warwick Shire Council.
During her time on the council, Sue had an impeccable reputation as a first-class councillor who was a strong supporter of the community and played a big part of the council's Planning and Development Committee where she stood as chair from the 1997 election.
Her husband Ted said Sue had a wide vision for the shire and tried to look at things from a wider perspective.
“She was always willing to look at other points of view and weigh them up,” Mr Cowley said.
“One word to describe her would be caring and she was always concerned about others and was a good listener.”
Southern Downs Regional Council Mayor Ron Bellingham said he always admired her “tenacity and her passion” for being active in the region.
“In the time I knew Sue she was one of the very few people who had the energy - an energy and a passion for Allora,” Cr Bellingham said.
“(It's) very sad, certainly sad for me and the whole community; I feel for her family as she passed at such a young age and still had many things planned for the future.”
Sue served the Allora community as councillor for more than 20 years and has been a part of community groups including Allora Action Association, Allora Landcare, Youth Network, Allora Service Providers, Community Custody Advisory Committee, Allora Art Gallery and Allora Rotary Club.
Sue was the first female member of the Allora Rotary Club and was president for a period - in this time she was awarded the prestigious Paul Harris Award.
Former councillor Sean Hegarty worked with Sue on the council for seven years and said she was very passionate about her job.
“She was an honest and a forthright person but at the same time a lady,” Mr Hegarty said.
“She was a mentor to me and took me under her wing a bit and helped me find my way through the maze of what the council is all about.
“She taught me a great deal about the council and she was a wonderful and caring person with a great sense of humour.”
Director of Planning and Environment Ken Harris said when Sue worked as the chair of the Planning and Development Committee she was very keen to help the community and was passionate about planning.
“Sue had a thirst for knowledge about planning and always looked for opportunities to develop and how it would benefit the community,” Mr Harris said.
“She was always fair and treated people with dignity and respect; she was a strong supporter of the Allora community while also being able to represent the whole of the Warwick Shire community.”
Mr Cowley would like to thank the whole community for the support they have shown towards their family during Sue's short illness.
“The support we have received is definitely one of the benefits of living in a small community,” he said.
“We are asking that rather than people bringing flowers we will have envelopes at the funeral to make a donation to the Cancer Council Queensland.”
A funeral service will be held today at 11am at the Dalrymple Reserve in Allora.