A first lady of Dubbo has gone to her grave with love letters written by her husband, an emeritus mayor of Dubbo.
Joan Slattery, wife of the late Tom Slattery OAM, and "loving and caring" mother of their five children, lost her battle with cancer on April 30 at the age of 93.
The procession of symbols at a requiem mass at St Brigid's Catholic Church to celebrate her life on May 3 revealed her true loves.
Placed on her coffin were envelopes which protected the love letters for years, a photograph of the couple, a photograph of their children, Mrs Slattery's prayer book, her gardening gloves and a plant.
Only-son Keiran and youngest child Margie delivered eulogies which revealed the impact on their mother at the tender age of six of the death of her own beloved mother.
"I'm sure these early experiences shaped my mother who lived a life for her family, her faith and who has met life's challenges including her last with the strength of will and stoicism," Margie Slattery-Smith said.
Joan and Tom Slattery, a squadron leader with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) when they settled in Dubbo in the 1970s, married in 1951, three years after he got down on his knee.
The marriage proposal coincided with offers for Joan to train as an air hostess and nurse. "She turned down two of the three offers that week and ended up choosing... nursing," Mrs Slattery-Smith said.
Joan Slattery would eventually give up nursing to be a wife and mother. "..nurses were not permitted to be engaged let alone married in those days," Mrs Slattery-Smith said.
Mr Slattery's RAAF career took his family to postings across Australia and overseas including London where his wife attended a royal garden party.
Her ceremonial duties as an RAAF wife prepared her for being Dubbo's first lady for the seven years Tom Slattery was mayor.
"She thoroughly enjoyed it because she got to meet so many people," her children say. "They loved Dubbo."
Mourners at Mrs Slattery's funeral learned that she was particularly punctual, an avid reader, keen shopper, fan of fashion and positive thinker.
Keiran Slattery said when feeling unwell she would "give herself a little pep talk of positive thoughts".
Family members made it possible for Mrs Slattery to stay in her Oxley Village unit until the end of her life.
She has been buried beside her husband at the New Dubbo Cemetery.
The couple's legacy includes their five children, 12 grandchildren and 17 great grandchildren.