How do you sum up a life that was literally sent from the heavens above?

Our Mum was an Earth Angel who helped and cared for everyone that crossed her path. Her love and personality were something that everyone who met her felt and appreciated and what led her to truly succeed in her role at Yass Valley Aged Care.

Alison Fae Cooke was born on 13th February 1963 in Cooma to loving parents Max and Dorothy Venables. Raised with an older brother, Michael, and twin sister, Lesley, the trio were the apples of their parent’s eyes.

Alison succeeded in her school life and completed her education at Monaro High in Cooma. After school, Alison went on to work as a banking cashier in Cooma until she met the love of her life, Garry.

Alison met Garry while he was working with State Rail in Cooma and it was evident to people that their love was eternal. They married in Cooma on 1st March 1986 and then moved to Yass to create a family of their own. They were blessed with their first daughter, Lisa on 30th December 1987; then Emma in November 1989, followed by Amy in September 1991, and finally Megan in May 1993.

While Garry wanted boys, Alison told her girls in recent years “How lucky she was to have their four girls” and that “Mothers and daughters just connect better”.

Alison and the girls constantly reminisced on their high school years and when they brought their partners home to meet the family. While Garry and Alison were concerned for their girls as they were growing up, they made each of their partners feel loved and welcomed.

Alison took Billy, Brendan, Brett, and Kyle into her home and they would often have chats and jokes with her. But if Mum told them to jump; they would JUMP.

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While growing up the girls remembered some funny stories about their childhood and how lucky they were to have their loving parents to raise them.

One night, when dad was at the pub and didn’t come home for dinner, Mum dressed up in her dressing gown and slippers; coloured her front tooth black, then took his dinner down to the pub and sat it on the bar. She got rather annoyed that it didn’t even irritate him – he just sat up at the bar and ate his dinner.

Another time, when they lived at the Orchard, Alison was helping Garry pick fruit and there was a huge lizard in the tree. She ran back to the house and said “She would never help up at the orchard again”; but she did.

In the years to follow Garry turned Alison into Annie Oakley; teaching her how to shoot and get her gun licence and buying her her own 4.10. Garry taught her to shoot so well that she became a better shot than him and he hated it! The girls didn’t help as they remember going spotlighting and Dad got told to “Hold the spotlight and let Mum shoot – she does it better!”

Another time Garry had been working away in Sydney and came home with presents for all of them. The girls got given new hoodies and were pleased. They asked him what he brought home for their Mum. Alison had already told the girls it would be a gold ring, I want a gold ring.

While Alison was in the bath Garry proceeded to show the girls Alison’s present. They knew at once that it was not at all what Alison was expecting.

Garry went into the bathroom to show Alison her present. The girls lined up outside awaiting her reaction. Alison was less than impressed when he showed her the ‘huge love heart with eagle wings’ tattooed on his shoulder, with Alison’s name through it. It was certainly not the gold ring she was expecting. She couldn’t believe it and tried to wash it off while laughing as Garry carried on to “Stop” and that “It was sore”.

When the shock of the present settled, Alison asked Garry why he had put her name on it and not his nickname for her. He proceeded to tell her that he didn’t know how to spell “Boofikins”.

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Alison was a great mother to her girls and sons-in-law, but she was even better when she got promoted to Nan!! At the birth of her first Grandson, Connor (who soon became known as Dennis the Menace), Alison was there, sitting in the hospital room waiting for him to arrive. Alison was even more thrilled when Brendan said she could go into the Delivery Room for

Madison’s birth. When Lucas, Amayah, Evah, Piper-Mae, and Issac arrived in the following years, Alison was there.

Out of the seven grandkids, there wasn’t a birth that she wasn’t there, waiting to be allowed in. After Issac’s birth (grandchild number seven) Alison told the girls “That’s it – seven is enough! I’m happy with my seven!”

Alison took being a Nan very seriously. If any of the girls told their children “No”, she would tell them “It’s ok darling, come here and tell Nan”, “Mum’s mean”, or “Yes, you can have chocolate; you’re at Nan’s – you can have whatever you like”.

She would spoil each one of them. Even at Christmas Alison went into competition with Santa – she always gave them the best gifts and she knew it. She’d arrive for the kids’ birthdays or at Christmas and any gifts that were given before hers were soon pushed aside for her gifts. Alison was more than pleased when the grandkids came up with the nickname “Nan yuck Hair” and she had given them all their own nicknames.

Alison went out of her way to make sure she was there for any events they had from school to sports to hobbies. She was always there, showing them her support and how proud she was of them.

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Alison commenced working at Gwen Warmington Lodge in Rossi Street as an AIN (Assistant in Nursing) on 29th September 2001.

After about three years she moved on to the office and became responsible for rosters, payroll and home care management.

Since then she became the Admissions Manager for both Horton House and Warmington Lodge. During her 20 years at Yass Valley Aged Care she had admitted approximately 850 residents and loved her role, and the people that she had met and made friends with over the years, many of whom may be here today.

Interviewed for her recent 20 years of service, Alison said “I feel honoured and privileged to remain a part of the YVAC Team”.

Alison loved her job and created many life-long friends throughout the years. She was a character of all sorts that took creating special events very seriously for the residents. Any event that meant that she could dress up and make some fun for the residents, she was in!

From dancing and singing to dressing up as anything from the Easter Bunny to the Virgin Mary – there wasn’t a theatre performance she didn’t get involved in. Alison had developed a love and passion for her role and tried to involve herself in anything that could help the residents or give them some excitement for the day.

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After spending ten years without Garry, Alison had finally found a nice little home for herself and was inviting the grandkids for sleepovers and to help in the garden.

She loved her job and the people and residents she worked with. She couldn’t just ‘duck into the supermarket’ without stopping and talking to someone.

Her presence would light up a room, with her welcoming smile, her glow, and her personality. She made friends easily and anyone that met her would remember her.

Alison has touched so many hearts and we will hold onto her memories. She will be missed daily and remain forever in our hearts.

Although we are saddened and will miss our Mum forever, we find comfort in knowing that our Mum and Dad are back together again.

Lisa, Emma, Amy and Megan