23 June 2015

Our Elizabeth Eason

It is with great sadness that members of Newport Strings learnt of the death of our much loved Elizabeth yesterday, 20th June 2015. Elizabeth came to our group 6 years ago and brought with her a sense of fun and joyfulness and above all a love of music that went to her very soul. She loved the people in the group as much as the music we played and those things were bound up together for her and soon became so for us. She was truly inspirational.
One of the things that was extraordinary about Elizabeth was her determination to beat the Big C as she called the cancer that was attacking her from the time she joined Newport Strings. She waged a mighty war against it and won many battles along the way.  Only 3 weeks ago she was rehearsing with us for the July concert with every intention of performing. We will dedicate our July concert to her memory.

Elizabeth was American and lived in Hawaii before moving to Australia to be with her beloved husband Cam. She loved all things Hawaiian and often wore her frangipani earrings and always carried her amazing goldfish (Nemo) hand bag. She would bring music to the group with Hawaian themes which we never got quite right! We had some great parties at her house, I remember in particular Cam’s 50th with his film industry friends and  Elizabeth’s Australian friends - she had made so many from different walks of life in just a few years. 
For me, Elizabeth was my rock in the small but enthusiastic viola section of Newport Strings. She played quietly and with great sensitivity and her counting was better than mine! From time to time we laboured away together on viola parts for the Newport Strings performances. This would usually happen at her place after coffee and a big game of throwing the ball for Bonnie the dog. We would play duets as well and I got to know her beautiful viola that she loved so much which was gifted to her by her mother.
One time when I visited, Elizabeth Skyped her daughter in the US at the grandkids’ bedtime – there was so much love and shenanigans whizzing backwards and forwards across the internet between the family and Elizabeth! We played lullabys on our violas to calm the children down before sleep. Sometimes we met up at the gym in Altona and then with our Curves friends for coffee – Elizabeth’s fitness and determination were impressive for so long. She was loved at Curves too.
All of us have our own memories to share and I know that many stories will be told over the coming weeks as we all come to terms with Elizabeth’s passing. There are huge aspects of her life we in Newport have not been part of but are so privileged to have been part of some of it. We will play music for her as long as we are all together and she will be with us as we do so.

Nicola Johnson

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