VALE: Leonie Fennessy has been remembered as a
VALE: Leonie Fennessy has been remembered as a "larger than life”, colourful character who cared deeply for her family and was always there for her friends. CONTRIBUTED

Remembering a loved Leonie

IT WAS standing room only at St Catherine's Church, Proserpine last Saturday as hundreds of friends and family farewelled Leonie Fennessy.

The longtime Airlie Beach local passed away on April 16.

She was remembered as a "larger-than-life", colourful character, who cared deeply for her family and was always there for her friends.

The church service was followed by an afternoon wake at the Whitsunday Marine Club (VMR) where yet more people flooded in to pay their respects to someone who was so loved.

"There was so much warmth and love in the church - so many people - it speaks volumes about the kind of person Leonie was," said friend of 30 years, Deborah Friend, who delivered the eulogy to a packed and silent church.

"To then see yet more people come down to the VMR to celebrate her life was truly heart-warming and gratifying. Her family came from interstate and people came from all over Queensland. It was a lovely afternoon and everyone said their own goodbyes as the sun went down over the Coral Sea. It was very special."

Mrs Friend said messages of love had flooded in from all over Australia calling Leonie a "ray of sunshine", "an angel who walked with us before going to heaven", "an absolute legend", "one of a kind" and "one in a million".

Many spoke of being lucky and privileged to have had her in their lives and spoke of how she touched so many people with her love and care, her giving nature, her generosity and kindness, her welcoming and open spirit.

She would quite literally give you her last $10 if you needed it.

She was a loving, caring and very loyal friend, who always had time to listen.

A confidant to so many - she was always there for people, even when she had her own problems.

Children were naturally drawn to her and she would spend hours playing with them and sharing her wisdom.

She was always smiling and happy - 'cheeky' and mischievous - with an infectious laugh that told you the party had started.

And she always did everything 100 per cent.

Leonie was born in Adelaide on June 28, 1957 and had two older brothers and a mother who was a school teacher, which ensured she grew up with a good education.

After school, Leonie went on to study at the Modbury Hospital of Nursing and had a successful nursing career, before coming to Airlie Beach in 1986 with her husband and two young children, aged two and four.

Leonie was very versatile and had a few different jobs including running a car rental company and also a travel agency in Airlie Beach.

In 1988 she started working at the Whitsunday Times as advertising manager - a job she went on to do for 10 years and probably the thing she was most "famous" for in Airlie Beach.

Leonie was also office manager - or "Mum" - getting everyone out of scrapes, boosting the team when required and soothing their troubles when they were down, or hadn't hit target!

Despite being a busy "career" mum, she was also a full-time mum and was always busy taking her children to sport and other activities, as well as playing netball herself for many years - she was part of the 'Aussie Rulers' team that won the B-grade championship in 1992.

After the Whitsunday Times, she started up a kitchen company, Whitsunday Crafted Kitchens, which she ran for quite a few years with her son.

This was followed by the very popular Amazing Place in Airlie Beach selling jewellery and homewares that she ran very successfully with her daughter for five years.

In recent years she had more time to travel - to Bali and Thailand - and enjoy a slower pace and spend time with her family, who were everything to her.

Leonie is survived by her partner of 23 years James (Jimmy), daughter Becky and partner Kane, son Jon and partner Bek and three grandchildren, as well as cousins, nieces, nephews, in-laws and friends, who loved her dearly.

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