Vale to former Moree Plains Shire councillor June Atkins

RIP: The late June Atkins pictured with her daughter Kelly. Photo: supplied
RIP: The late June Atkins pictured with her daughter Kelly. Photo: supplied

Nearly five months since her father John Sydney Atkins' passing, Kelly Atkins sadly found herself presenting her mother's eulogy, following her passing on September 25, 2020.

June Concessa Atkins (nee Teerman) was born at Maryborough, Queensland on June 29, 1933 in the midst of the Great Depression. Her second name is referenced by her birth mother who tragically died when June was nine years old, of complications due to childbirth.

June was the eldest child and has three brothers Peter, Patrick and Paul (deceased). They grew up in the Sydney suburb of Maroubra where June often recollected carefree days by the beach. She attended Our Lady of Mercy College of Parramatta - presided over by her father Stan and her much loved stepmother Ellen.

June commenced her chosen career as a nurse at Balmain hospital and has lifelong friends to this day, but like her husband John, country life beckoned.

Apparently a colleague had won the Opera House lottery and they embarked on travels around Australia which eventually brought a young June to the north west of NSW including stints at Wee Waa, Coonabarabran and ultimately Collarenebri hospitals.

The nurse's quarters were a hub of social activity where she met John Atkins, also a city escapee, whom she married at the now-demolished East Moree Catholic Church in 1966, the year decimal currency was introduced.

Motherhood took priority when Kelly arrived in 1968 and June never returned to nursing.

In the 1970s they relocated from Collarenebri to Moree where John resumed agency work before commencing business together as John S Atkins Co in the PP Board building in Balo Street, Moree before moving to the present site, where Kelly proudly continues the business.

June quickly developed a fierce reputation as a property manager, looking after landlords and tenants.

There was no in between, she either liked you or she didn't, and pity those who didn't pay their rent on time. It was a remarkable feat to retire from work at the age of 82. John and June's first home in Moree was in Iris Street with wonderful memories transcending to lifelong friends.

June's focus in life was her family, the business with her husband and her beloved Moree community.

She served on many committees over the years including St Philomena's School, the Catholic Church, Lions Ladies, Westpac Helicopter, Fairview Board for ten years and as an elected councillor to Moree Plains Shire.

When June was on council, Prime Minister John Howard was visiting Moree. There was a photo opportunity when June was standing next to the PM and the photo captured Mr Howard throwing his head backwards with laughter.

He asked June, "Do you have grandchildren?"

She replied, "No, I have one daughter, she's married but I don't think she knows what to do." Kelly expected a telephone call - "Kelly, it's John Howard, I need to have a chat with you."

Grandchildren arrived in 2005 and 2008 and Kelly knew her position as the only child was no longer numero uno. June relished her role as a grandparent - Tom and Max are fortunate that they can recall many fond memories with her.

Kelly, Geoff, Tom and Max acknowledged the support of valued friends, Father Paul, Marty and Jackie for the music, the amazing staff at Fairview and Margaret Cullen.

Father Paul recounted a story about June who religiously went to church every Saturday evening where she would sit in the back pew. Father Paul was told several times, in no uncertain terms that she wished to have her coffin placed on the back pew at her funeral, but unfortunately due to COVID-19, June's request could not be met - we hope that we are forgiven.