Celebrating the life of Pat Freund

PAT Freund was insistent the old version of Psalm 23, The Lord is My Shepherd, would be read at her funeral. The old version had the right words, such as leadeath and maketh. The modernised words weren’t for her. Pat Freund, who died a year ago on November 12, 2021, was a strong woman of definite opinions and values.

One of those values was community service. She served the New Norfolk community in a variety of roles for 50 years including vice president of the Corumbene board of management and president of Soroptimist International, New Norfolk. She was a great friend to those people who met her; always interested in the lives of others, always a willing listener and happy to provide sage advice. Pat oved people and was as comfortable talking to the governor as with people she met in the street. She always had time for people.

Winifred Patricia (Pat) Freund was born in Stoke-on Trent, England, on November 1, 1936 to Winifred and Sydney France. She was proud to be born in a significant year in British history – the abdication of King Edward VIII – and had a framed a set of coins that were minted in that year. She was an only child who grew up on her parents’ farm where her lifelong love of animals began. She trained in horticulture and worked hard at many paid and unpaid jobs she had throughout her life. Hard work was a theme of her life; she expected it of herself and everyone else.

Adventure beckoned and she came to Australia on her own in March 1960 when she was 24. She got a job on a farm in Toowoomba, Queensland, where – among other things – she once mustered 1500 sheep in a day. Queensland’s warm climate wasn’t for her and drove to Hobart where she arrived on February 18, 1961. She never left except for several trips to her beloved Stoke-on-Trent. She remained proud of her British heritage throughout her life. The potteries, of course, were the best part of Britain.

She met John Spark, a charismatic and exciting young English real estate agent. They met and married in 1961 and had two sons: Tim, born in 1962, and Anthony in 1966. Pat was determined to provide the best opportunities for her boys that included a stable environment. She and John divorced in 1968. Divorce was scandalous at that time but Pat was a trailblazer and an example to women of taking control of their destiny.

She married tall, dependable and diligent Ulrich Freund in 1970, and had a daughter, Dianna, later that year. Ulrich got a job as a TV repairer at Craw’s Radio & TV Service and so they moved to New Norfolk where Pat lived for the rest of her life. Ulrich built the family home the Saddle Rd where Sunday lunches were a weekly ritual. Guests were many and varied; all greeted by Pat with a warm smile and hug. She was always pleased to see family and friends who loved her stimulating, amusing and warm company.

Pat and Ulrich parted in the late 1980s but he continued to be involved with Tim, Anthony and Dianna, as well as the extended family of his wife, Susie and her children. Pat and Ulrich remained friends until he died in November 2020. In later years, Pat and Geoff McMaster enjoyed companionship that included ministering to Geoff’s cows, mustering sheep and riding horses.

She was a loving mother, grandmother, aunt and friend. Her home was like Central Station with visitors coming and going. She changed minds and lives by being a fine example of a warm, loving and supportive friend. She wasn’t tolerant of excuses or blame and had a canny business sense. Right up to her death, she managed her real estate portfolio. No agents for her, she personally managed each property and was rewarded with long-term tenants.

She trained as a home care worker in 1989. It was her ideal job: socialising and caring for people. She adored her clients and they her. Besides her roles at Corumbene and the Soroptimists, Pat was a former president of New Norfolk High School Parents and Friends, president of the New Norfolk Community Youth Support Scheme, secretary of the Australia Day Committee, a volunteer hospice worker and Meals on Wheels volunteer.

She made the most out of life and loved gardening, big bands, and the odd flutter on the pokies. She was always what she’d call “well turned out”, a strong capable woman whose warmth touched the hearts of many.


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