2 May 2024

Town set to gather to celebrate milestone birthday for a Yass favourite

| Sally Hopman
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Two women

June Comins, who tuns 100 on 11 May, with her daughter Mandy Reed at the Yass nursing home. Photo: Sally Hopman.

June Comins, OAM, is one of those countrywomen everyone knows – and loves. On 11 May, if proof were ever needed, she’ll know exactly how much she’s held in esteem by her family, friends and pretty much the whole Yass Valley community, when she celebrates her 100th birthday.

“I think everyone should turn 100,” Mrs Comins laughed. “You’ve got to live a long time, but it’s worth it.”

When Region visited Mrs Comins at the Yass nursing home where she’s lived for about seven years, she was deep in conversation with her daughter, Mandy Reed, about turning the big 100.

“She won’t tell me what they’re planning,” Mrs Comins said.

“That’s right,” Ms Reed said, with a laugh.

About 130 people are expected to help Mrs Comins celebrate the milestone next week, with family and friends coming from as far afield as Queensland, Victoria, NSW, Canberra and Yass. The guest list will include her three children, eight grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren.

“We haven’t got a photo of all of us, so hopefully we’ll get one on the day.”

Born and bred in the Yass Valley, everyone knows Mrs Comins. They know of her lifelong devotion to community service – from the Yass Show Society to Legacy and the Red Cross – “You name it, she was involved in it”, Ms Reed said.

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“She’s too modest to tell you, but that’s why she received her OAM in 1998, for service to her community.”

As a young woman, Mrs Comins left the family sheep property to board at Frensham school in Mittagong, where she was known to be a keen sportswoman. Her academic reports, she laughed, said “June could do better”.

“Madam here,” Mrs Comins said, pointing to her daughter with a smile, “sent the report about the OAM to the Frensham chronicle for everyone to see. I nearly died.”

After leaving school, she worked on the family property outside Yass, doing any work asked of her – and loved it. It also gave her the grounding for a remarkable work ethic where nothing was too much trouble for people she cared about, as well as perfect strangers in need of a hand.

Married twice, Mrs Comins, nee June Eedy, said her second husband Frank, whom she wed in 1961, was “the love of my life”.

A pilot in World War I, he, too, was a Yass boy.

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“I knew him when we were growing up in Yass. He was very handsome. He loved country life like I did and he was very kind to take on my three children at the time” – Tim, Dave and Mandy.

“He was a wonderful man,” Ms Reed said. “He used to come out and visit us often – and suddenly they were married.

“When I got married it was always a fait accompli that I would ask him to give me away. He was like a father to me.”

Frank died in 1994. “I didn’t have long enough with him,” Mrs Comins said.

At almost 100, Mrs Comins is in fine fettle. She only moved into the nursing home after having a fall at home – “I couldn’t get up”, she said.

She’s fine with nursing home life, with family and friends visiting regularly – “I can still get into trouble here”, she laughed.

Asked if there were a secret to being in such good form at age almost-100, Mrs Comins said: “Well, I smoked for about 30 years in the 1980s and then suddenly decided I didn’t want to anymore. I don’t drink either.”

“But you used to like a brandy,” her daughter said, as her mother nodded with a smile.

Original Article published by Sally Hopman on About Regional.

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