Tributes flow for "Dubbo's netball matriarch" Nita McGrath

Greatly missed: The Dubbo community is mourning the death of Nita McGrath, pictured with the NSW Netball Service Award she won in 2012. Photo: Belinda Soole.

Greatly missed: The Dubbo community is mourning the death of Nita McGrath, pictured with the NSW Netball Service Award she won in 2012. Photo: Belinda Soole.

Tributes are flowing for “Dubbo’s netball matriarch” and tireless community volunteer Nita McGrath.

Mrs McGrath died on Saturday, aged 85.

Regarded as the woman who “epitomised Dubbo netball” for decades, those involved in the sport she loved are mourning her loss.

The sorrow was also felt by members of the wider community who experienced Mrs McGrath’s generosity of spirit through Dubbo Hospital Pink Ladies Auxiliary, the Talking Liberal, commitment to water safety and more.

Dubbo Netball Association coaching convenor Michelle Williams recalled the sporting stalwart - re-elected as vice president last month - had been down at the courts “all day, every day”.

Mrs McGrath had guided younger committee members and helped develop junior umpires, Ms Williams said.

“Nita epitomised Dubbo netball,” she said.

“She was the loveliest lady I’ve met.

“She was an integral part of Dubbo netball and we’re going to miss her.”

A life member of the association, Mrs McGrath helped netball get off the ground in Dubbo in the 1970s, and was known to generations of players.

Tracey Connell, association president from 2012 until last month, had “Nita by my side” as vice president all that time.

“She was an inspirational woman,” she said.

“She was such a great mentor, from young players right up to the older players.

“She was respected by everyone and she will be sadly missed.”

The association posted a message to social media on Thursday saying its “beloved vice president, life member, friend and mentor, Nita McGrath” would be greatly missed.

The post prompted a flow of expressions of sympathy to Mrs McGrath’s family and memories of times with her.

Shell Ashworth said in a Facebook post that Mrs McGrath has been “an amazing mentor and friend”.

“Nita always amazed me with her get up and go not only with netball but pink lady at the hospital, converting the Liberal into talking text for the visually impaired and I am sure she kept busy supporting community with things I don’t know about,” she said.

Craig May also paid tribute to a “truly inspirational lady” who had “so many strings to her bow”.

“Her commitment to water safety and first aid was incredible,” he said in a post.

“The world was a much better place with her in it.

“Her contributions in so many areas in Dubbo was immeasurable.”

Michelle Gooch said: “Dubbo’s netball matriarch will live on in all the aspiring young ladies whom she helped master the art of umpiring.”

A commemoration of Mrs McGrath’s life will be held at the Savannah Room at Taronga Western Plains Zoo on Wednesday at 10:15am.

The family ask that in lieu of flowers, a donation be made to your favourite charity.

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